Russian, Pinoy seamen held hostage in Nigeria
(The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 10:00am

LAGOS, Nigeria — The crew of an oil tanker hijacked in Nigerian waters is from Russia, Georgia and the Philippines and is probably being held hostage for ransom, a shipping security expert said yesterday.

Claims the Greek-owned MT Leon Dias was boarded last week by separatists espousing an independent state of Biafra in southeast Nigeria likely is a cover to lend legitimacy to a kidnapping for ransom, Dirk Steffen, the maritime security director of Denmark-based Risk Intelligence, told The Associated Press.

The hijackers abandoned the ship Sunday and took five hostages with them, he said, including the Filipino captain and third engineer, the Russian chief engineer and electrician and a fitter from Georgia.

A man who identified himself by the nom-de-guerre General Ben — similar to titles used by Niger Delta oil militants — had threatened to blow up the ship with its crew if authorities did not release Nnamdi Kanu, the director of the banned Radio Biafra detained since Oct. 17 and accused of terrorism.               

ASSOCIATED PRESS BIAFRA CLAIMS THE GREEK DIRK STEFFEN GENERAL BEN LEON DIAS NBSP NIGER DELTA NNAMDI KANU RADIO BIAFRA RISK INTELLIGENCE
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