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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Abductions believed carried out by 'criminals' and not politically motivated militants

Two Americans are feared kidnapped off Africa's west coast. Nigerian military officials are continuing their search. Seaborne pirates have become increasingly common in the area in recent years.

U.S. officials have confirmed to reporters that two Americans were taken earlier this week in an area plagued by pirates, criminal gangs and active militant groups.

U.S. officials have confirmed to reporters that two Americans were taken earlier this week in an area plagued by pirates, criminal gangs and active militant groups.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/25/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Nigeria, kidnapped, Nigeria, pirates, C-Retriever


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Maritime news Web site Captain had reported that the captain and chief engineer of oil supply vessel C-Retriever had been abducted. The ship the captain and the engineer were on had been found. Officials would give no further details other than to say it was "somewhere off Bonny in the Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility."

U.S. officials have confirmed to reporters that two Americans were taken earlier this week in an area plagued by pirates, criminal gangs and active militant groups. 

"We believe this was an act of piracy," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. "At this point, we do not have information that would indicate this was an act of terrorism. Obviously, our concern at this point is for the safe return of the two U.S. Citizens." Officials were closely monitoring the situation and seeking more information.

Nigerian officials confirm that they believe that the abductions were performed by "criminals" and not politically motivated militants.

"Yes, we are aware that they are missing, but we still do not have any information on the whereabouts of the men," Nigerian navy spokesman Kabiru Aliyu said. "But we have deployed search-and-rescue teams who are currently combing the creeks. We are doing our best to find them."

A U.S. defense official said the State Department and FBI were leading the American response to the incident.

Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, the ship's owner, remained had no comment.

"The companies are probably advised to say nothing to the media," Rory Lamrock, a maritime analyst at U.K.-based security firm AKE said. "It is generally because hostage-takers are very clued up and have access to the Internet, have access to the news. [Companies] don't want to say anything that can be used against their workers."

Piracy has skyrocketed by more than 30 percent this year off Somalia and the Horn of Africa, as ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea come under threat from gangs wanting to snatch cargoes and crews.

This makes them targets for criminals and raises insurance costs. Kidnapped sailors and oil workers taken in Nigerian waters are usually released after a ransom is paid.

Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage off the coast of Somalia in April, 2009, said the waters off Nigeria were "worse than even Somalia."

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