Two kidnapped Indian engineers in Nigeria released


Lagos (Nigeria)/Guwahati : Two Indian engineers kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria have been released after 25 days in captivity, family sources Tuesday said.

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"My son Debashish Kakoty and his colleague Sunil Dave of Maharashtra were released by their captors late Monday night with the negotiators handing them to the local police," Ajit Kakoty, a retired professor, told IANS by telephone from Sivasagar in eastern Assam.

Suspected militants took hostage Debashish Katoky, 32, a fire expert hailing from Sivasagar and Dave from their residence in Nigeria's oil capital Port Harcourt on May 19.

The two were working for Indonesia's Indorama, a reputed oil exploration company. Indorama is the majority stake holder of the Eleme petrochemical plant near Port Harcourt.

Militants armed with dynamite and machine guns kidnapped the two Indorama employees, but soldiers engaged them in a gunfight and rescued seven. A Nigerian driver was killed in the crossfire.

"My daughter-in-law telephoned us from Abuja (Nigeria's capital) that the two were released at Rivers State and handed over to the governor's office," Kakoty said.

The wives of the two kidnapped engineers were camping in Abuja for the last few days.

According to family sources, the two released engineers would be taken to Port Harcourt and then shifted to Abuja.

"Both of them are said to be weak in health after being in captivity for 25 days," Kakoty said quoting his daughter-in-law. "We are delighted to hear the news and thank god for giving them courage to withstand the trial."

There were no immediate details about how the two were released and where they were held in captivity. Apart from the Indians, three Americans, five Britons, one Filipino and one South African were also released.

Kakoty was posted to Nigeria in September last year.

Militant groups demanding a greater share of government oil revenues have carried out bombings, kidnappings and protests since 2005 that have already shut down a third of production of the Nigerian field – a key supplier to the US

The abduction last month was the latest in a string of kidnappings of foreign workers – 13 others are still held hostage in the Niger Delta, a vast wetlands region where all of Nigeria's oil reserves are located.

Violence in the world's eighth largest oil exporter has witnessed an upswing early this year forcing the shutdown of a third of production and hundreds of foreigners fleeing the lawless region.

About 100 expatriates have been kidnapped so far this year – a majority of them were released after their employers paid huge ransoms.