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Cablegate: No Reports of Amcits in Bayelsa Kidnapping

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS LAGOS 001475

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO DS/IP/AF, DS/IP/OSAC, DS/IP/ITA
LONDON AND PARIS PASS TO AFRICA WATCHERS
KABUL PASS TO SROSS
DIA/J2 PASS TO GHAYES

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EPET PINS PGOV NI CACS
SUBJECT: NO REPORTS OF AMCITS IN BAYELSA KIDNAPPING

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Reports indicate several expatriate
hostages have been taken near Brass in Bayelsa State in
the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. We have NO/NO
reports of American citizens being taken hostage, but
an American-French drilling venture may be involved.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Preliminary but credible reports indicate
several expatriate hostages have been taken by restive
community members in Bayelsa State. News reports
indicate the hostages work for Conoil Limited, an oil
services subsidiary of Conoil Nigeria, the privatized
oil company formerly called National Oil. We have also
heard, but have not confirmed, that an American-French
oil services company, Forasol Drilling West Africa,
with offices in Port Harcourt, may be involved.

3. (SBU) Diplomatic and security sources tell us that
seven (7) French contractors, one Ivorian, one Croatian
and 20 to 50 Nigerian oil workers are being held by
community members over a dispute with Conoil regarding
its hiring practices. An oil services security manager
told Econoff that the governor of Bayelsa State has
flown to the area known as Sangana to negotiate with
community leaders for release of the hostages.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: Bayelsa State, a nearly homogenous
ethnic Ijaw region, generally has not bee a locus of
oil-related communal violence or disruption. However,
this incident serves as a reminder that the estranged
relationships between communities and oil companies,
and the volatility of the Delta, extend beyond the
Warri area. Last November, ChevronTexaco faced a stand-
off on one of its platforms off the coast of Bayelsa,
and past incidents between communities in Bayelsa and
GON forces have been bloody (Odi, for example). The
challenge of Bayelsa is that it is even more remote and
undeveloped than Delta or Rivers States. Consequently,
agitation regarding community development issues will
flare periodically. We will keep an eye on this
situation to see how the state and federal governments
handle this sensitive matter. END COMMENT.

BROWNE

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