America

Nigerian Pirates Free Kidnapped U.S. Mariners

Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), pictured in 2008. The rebel group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. i i

hide captionFighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), pictured in 2008. The rebel group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), pictured in 2008. The rebel group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), pictured in 2008. The rebel group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Two U.S. crewmembers seized last month from a ship off the coast of Nigeria have been released by their pirate captors, the State Department said Tuesday.

The captain and engineer from the U.S.-flagged C-Retriever, a 222-foot offshore resupply, were abducted on Oct. 23 when gunman boarded the vessel.

As we wrote in October, an email from the rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, originally claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. It's not clear whether the captors were in fact affiliated with the rebel group.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the U.S. welcomes the release of the two Americans, but said she could not comment on the details due to privacy concerns.

The Associated Press notes: "Nearly all foreigners kidnapped are released after ransoms are paid."

And, by way of background, Reuters says:

"Pirate attacks off Nigeria's coast have jumped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have come under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: