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Cablegate: Niger Delta Roundup: Hostages Released, Port

VZCZCXRO7117
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0694/01 2961507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231507Z OCT 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9511
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9281
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0800
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0033
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0141
RUEHVB/AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 0062
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000694

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/W, INR/AA, DS/IP/AF, DS/ICI/PII, DS/DSS/OSAC,
CA/OCS/ACS/AF
OSLO FOR HELENA SCHRADER
DOE FOR GPERSON, CAROLYN GAY
TREASURY FOR ASEVERENS, SRENENDER, DFIELDS
COMMERCE FOR KBURRESS
STATE PASS USTR FOR ASST USTR FLISER
STATE PASS TRANSPORTATION FOR MARAD
STATE PASS OPIC FOR ZHAN AND MSTUCKART
STATE PASS TDA FOR NCABOT
STATE PASS EXIM FOR JRICHTER
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL NI
SUBJECT: NIGER DELTA ROUNDUP: HOSTAGES RELEASED, PORT
HARCOURT POLITICS, CHILD KIDNAPPINGS

REF: LAGOS 692

-------------------------------------
Three Expats, Four Nigerians Released
-------------------------------------

1. (SBU) Three expatriates (Russian, Croatian, and British
nationals), and four Nigerian hostages were released around
17:00 on October 22, two days after having been kidnapped
offshore Bayelsa State, according to Shell representatives
(Reftel). Shell attributed the release to quick community
and GON intervention.

2. (SBU) Shell representatives said militants attacked its
security and accommodation vessels, but not the floating
production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, located at
the EA Field. Militants hijacked a 14-meter "Surfer 141"
boat designed with deep water capability and a 40 passenger
capacity.

3. (SBU) Chevron reported that at approximately 18:00 on
October 20, 2 hours before militants attacked Shell's vessels
offshore Bayelsa, militants in 3 boats boarded a security
vessel off Delta State while navy personnel were asleep. The
militants took the military's weapons but there were no
injuries.

-----------------------------------
Potential Mayhem Following Supreme
Court Ruling on Rivers Governorship
-----------------------------------

4. (SBU) On October 25 the Supreme Court will hear and
possibly rule on a case presented by the former Speaker of
Rivers State House of Assembly, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, who is
contesting the People's Democratic Party (PDP) decision to
replace his name with sitting Governor Celestine Omehia's on
the governorship ballot. (Note: It is widely believed in
Rivers that Amaechi's name was replaced by Omehia's because
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had a
substantial dossier on Amaechi, who is closely aligned with
former Rivers Governor Peter Odili. End Note.) Security
sources warned the city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, could
become tense following the Supreme Court's decision.

5. (SBU) However, a Port Harcourt-based contact did not
predict immediate violence following the Supreme Court's
announcement. Instead, he questioned what decision would be
given. If the final decision results in the holding of new
elections, one could expect violence from the Ikwerre
riverine communities as they may feel they lost their shot at
the governorship (both Omehia and Amaechi are Ikwerre).

----------------------------------------
Port Harcourt Child Kidnappings Continue
----------------------------------------

6. (U) Three Nigerian children were recently kidnapped in
separate instances in Port Harcourt. Two of the children's
parents were employed by Total, one by Shell. Company
representatives believe the kidnappings were criminal in
nature as they targeted affluent Nigerian families en route
to school. (Note: Child kidnappings in Port Harcourt became
frequent in June, after Delta and Bayelsa-state based
militants declared a ceasefire. End Note.) A child kidnapped

LAGOS 00000694 002 OF 002


in early September was killed around October 15; the
kidnappers demanded a ransom but this was never paid.
HUTCHINSON

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