Kidnapped Oil Expatriates Regain Freedom
16 Aug 2006
Author: Samuel Oyadongha
THE four expatriates oil workers recently kidnapped by suspected militants in the Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State have been released.
The elated oil workers, Roger Bjerkaas, Jarle Johansen both Norwegians, Oleksanr Myleylets and Jimofey Beowr from Ukraine were taken hostage last Wednesday, from a vessel owned by a Norwegian shipping firm, Trisco Supply, about 28 nautical miles off the Atlantic coast of Nigeria in the delta by the militants.
Informed sources told Vanguard that the hostages were released to Senator David Brigidi who led a government team to trouble shoot on their behalf at an undisclosed location at the Atlantic fringe.
Although it could not be ascertained if ransom was paid to the kidnappers before releasing their captives Vanguard however reliably gathered that the militants demanded that they be supplied with a Thuraya satellite mobile phone by the government delegation before they would enter into any discussion with government, which was complied with.
Receiving the hostages who were flown into government house, Yenagoa in a chopper at about 5.25pm, the state deputy governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi condemned the spate of kidnapping in the Niger Delta region and urged aggrieved youths to channel their grievances to government stressing that government has the ability to mediate and settle such problems.
The deputy governor also urged the youths in state to redirect their energy towards meaningful ventures rather than engaging in criminal activities.
The deputy governor even made attempt to persuade the release hostages and the representatives of their company to remain in Yenagoa until the next day before traveling to Port Harcourt because of the danger in night journey but they insisted on leaving.
Vanguard learnt that the crisis was triggered by the non-recognition of some communities by Peak Petroleum as it host in the OML 122 of the Peak Petroleum Industries.
The grouse of the communities the source said was that since they are located within the EA field operation of the company if there is any oil spill their communities would also be impacted like their sister communities of Bilabiri I & II, Amatu I & II, Ekeni, Ezetu I & II, Letugbene and Bisangbene, all in the Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw council areas duly recognized as hosts to the company.