, LAGOS, Nov 3 – Nigerian security forces stormed the hideout of kidnappers of a Turkish national in oil-rich Rivers State and killed 14 of them in a shootout, police said Saturday.
“The hoodlums were shot dead during a gun battle with the security agents in their camp in Kaani community in Ogoni land,” state police spokesman Ben Ugwuegbulam told AFP of the incident on Friday.
He said members of the gang who abducted a Turkish construction worker last month had opened fire upon seeing the security agents in their camp.
“The security operatives returned with a superior firepower and in the process shot dead six of the kidnappers instantly, while eight others with gunshot wounds died on the way to the hospital,” the police spokesman said.
He added that two other suspects were assisting the police in their investigation.
Ugwuegbulam said the Turkish national had earlier been released unhurt by his captors after collecting ransom money.
“The security team recovered some arms and ammunition as well as cash in the camp,” he added.
He said the gang was also notorious for carrying out a wave of robberies and attacks on security agents in the state in recent months.
Scores of foreign workers have been kidnapped in the Niger delta for ransom, although a 2009 amnesty deal for oil militants had led to a sharp decline in unrest there in recent months.
But sporadic incidents continue despite the amnesty. Attacks have been blamed on criminal gangs seeking ransom or crude oil to sell on the black market as well as militants claiming to be fighting for a greater share of oil revenue for the local population.
The Niger delta with its massive oil and gas reserves remains a deeply impoverished and badly polluted region.