Friday, January 20, 2012

American Expat Kidnapped in Niger Delta, US$310,000 Ransom Demanded

Gunmen kidnapped a US citizen expat working for Marubeni Corp in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region earlier today (January 20), killing his driver and demanding a 50 million naira (US$310,300) ransom. The incident occurred in Warri, where the kidnappers had been surveilling the American.

COMMENT: Marubeni is a Japanese conglomerate. The Niger Delta, heartland of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, is prone to unrest and violence by militant factions. Gangs use assault rifles and speedboats to run criminal fiefdoms that profit from kidnapping and oil theft.

Locals in the region are also angry at politicians in Abuja who siphon off profits from Nigeria's huge oil industry. It is commonplace for multinationals to be targeted for kidnapping unless they have very formidable levels of security for their expat staff.

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