Nigerian army

Death toll in oil worker abduction at 30

ABUJA, July 28, 2017 – A total of at least 30 people have been killed since the kidnapping and attempted rescue of a team of oil survey workers in northern Nigeria, according to statements from the affected organisations.

Five Maiduguri University staff members were killed and four others are missing, deputy director of information Ahmed Mohammed told the media Thursday. The university lecturers’ union, Academic Staff Union of Universities,  confirmed the figures to local media the same day. The deceased included two geologists, two technologists and a driver, union chairman Danny Manmam told journalists.

“We were first elated when we heard that the military rescued the victims. But, to our dismay we discovered that they were all killed. Our initial hope to see them alive was dashed. The soldiers brought only dead bodies,” Manmam said. “Four other staff are still missing and we are seriously concerned about their safety; we do not know their whereabouts.”

 

Additionally, 16 members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), a local armed vigilante group, were killed, the organisation’s secretary told Reuters. 

“On behalf of government and people of Borno state, I mourn and salute the soldiers and our sons in the Civilian JTF who paid the supreme price by giving their lives in this fight,” Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima said in a statement. “I mourn and salute any worker or supportive staff who might have lost his or her life in the course of trying to contribute in boosting Nigeria’s economy through exploration activities in the Chad Basin.”

The military’s statement Wednesday reported that the bodies of nine servicemen and a civilian had been recovered during the operation in which it rescued the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) staff who had been kidnapped. The military’s statement did not mention the university staff, who had been contracted by the NNPC to do survey work in the Lake Chad Basin, or the Civilian JTF. 

“So far, they have rescued all the NNPC staff and recovered the corpses of the officer, eight soldiers and a civilian who have been evacuated to 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital,” the statement said.

The NNPC recently resumed work in the area after pausing due to Boko Haram violence.

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