Lastest American Hostage in Nigeria Freed

Jun 4, 2007 3:58pm

An American man held hostage in Nigeria for nearly a month is finally free. A Nigerian militant group released John Stapleton, an oil-worker for Chevron, along with five other hostages on Saturday, three days after the group had promised their release. The captors, the Movement to Emancipate the Niger Delta (MEND), held the men in the oil-rich Niger Delta region after capturing them in a raid on a Chevron facility. Last week, the group’s leader, Jomo, promised in an e-mail to the Blotter on that he would release Stapleton on May 30, in order to "spite the outgoing [Nigerian] administration," which left office on May 29. In a subsequent e-mail, Jomo told the delay in release was due to "weather and security concerns." According to a statement released by MEND on Saturday, the hostages were released to the local governor and will be handed over to Chevron. Chevron has confirmed the release of the hostages and in a statement thanked the Nigerian government for helping to secure "the safe return of our employees." "This release in no way signifies our intention to halt abductions, but a preparedness to dialogue with a willing government," Jomo said in the statement.  "As long as indegenes [sic] of the niger delta are being held by the Nigerian government unjustly, we will continue with the abduction of oil workers and encourage all group in the delta to do likewise," he added. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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