Military operation launched to free Scots oil worker in Nigeria

A major military operation has been launched to rescue a Scottish oil worker who was kidnapped by gunmen in the restive, oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The victim was abducted while working on a platform on Saturday morning, a Nigerian Army spokesman confirmed today.

A Canadian and a Nigerian were also taken hostage during a raid on the installation in the Ogbele area of Rivers State, southern Nigeria.

“A joint search and rescue operation has been launched by troops of Operation Delta Safe in collaboration with other security agencies,” the spokesman told Energy Voice.

He was unable to divulge the identities of the workers.

Platform owner Niger Delta Petroleum Resources and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office declined to comment.

On Sunday, Major Ibrahim Abubakar, who was leading the rescue operation, said efforts were made to comb the surrounding area immediately after the raid, but that troops had been unable to arrest the perpetrators.

Kidnappings and attacks on oil and gas facilities and pipelines are commonplace in the Niger Delta.

Armed groups have regularly resorted to violence in a bid to secure a bigger share of oil revenues for the region.

Just last week, two people employed by Shell were kidnapped and their police escorts slain in Rivers State while returning from a trip.

Oil workers from Scotland have been caught up in the struggle before.

Nick Roddy, from Aberdeen, was held by a notorious militant group in May 2007 after the boat he was working on was raided.

Mr Roddy was released following a three-week ordeal.

And Gordon Gray, from Crieff, suffered five days of captivity at the hands of an armed gang which abducted him from a rig owned by Dolphin Drilling in 2007, before being handed over to government officials.

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