Nigerian police yesterday confirmed the identities of four expatriate oil workers kidnapped from a nightclub in the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt a day earlier.
Youths, dressed in military clothing, stormed the nightclub on Monday night exchanging fire with security guards and taking off with the four captives in speedboats.
The abductees were Gerhard Ezerh of Germany, John Guyang, a Briton, Brian Fogarty, who Nigerian police gave as American but Irish media said was Irish, and Royce Parait, an American.
Police said Ezerh was working for Hydrographic Engineering Nigeria Ltd, Guyang for Smith International Inc, both oil services companies, while Fogarty worked for US services giant Halliburton. Parait's occupation was given as sailor.
The men's whereabouts is unknown, police said.
Another German, Guido Schiffart, abducted also in Port Harcourt on Aug. 3, was also still missing, police said.
Meanwhile, a Belgian, Debruyn Freddrick, and a Moroccan, Nasri Bouchaib, kidnapped last Friday in Port Harcourt, were handed over to the government of Nigeria's Rivers State on Monday night.
Nigeria, Africa's largest crude oil producer, has seen daily production fall by 20 percent over the escalation of militant attacks in the Niger Delta since the beginning of the year.
Fourteen expatriate workers have been kidnapped so far this year. The abductees are usually released unharmed, reportedly after the payment of ransoms.