It has been reported that at least five people have been kidnapped from the High Island VII jackup rig operating off the coast of Nigeria’s southern delta. The newly installed rig is operated by Afren PLC.
Afren confirmed that the rig, which had recently arrived on location, was preparing to begin infill drilling at the Okoro field, which sits approximately 11 km off the coast of Nigeria's Akwa Ibom state.
According to Afren, two crew members are stable after receiving wounds to the leg, and have been evacuated by helicopter to a shore based clinic. The company reported that five crew members were believed to have been taken hostage, however US State Department spokesman P.J Crowley stated that seven were taken.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), one of several militant groups in the region, has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to reports, MEND stated that: ‘All the abducted expatriates are well and in our safe custody. All the fighters who participated in this attack have safely returned to base. Within the next 24 hours, we will release the names of all expatriates currently being held in our different camps.’
Together with AMNI International, Afren is working with the relevant authorities and a further update will be provided in due course.
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