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Friday, August 11, 2006

US govt ready to help tackle crime in Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta: envoy

LAGOS (AFP) - The United States is ready to help Nigeria tackle its criminal activities, including the abduction of oil workers, the US ambassador said, as a spate of kidnappings continued.

"Nigeria is a friend of the United States. We can help. But we will help at the request of Nigerians," John Campbell said in a televised interview.

More than 35 expatriate oil workers have been kidnapped in 2006 in the volatile oil-rich southern Niger Delta, including 10 in the past week alone.

"It is a major concern. Kidnapping is a major criminal behaviour," Campbell said.

In the latest kidnappings, gunmen abducted two expatriate oil workers in an ambush in the Nigerian southern oil city of Port Harcourt on Thursday, according to police and industry sources.

Nigeria, a nation of 130 million people, is the world's sixth biggest crude exporter with a daily output of 2.6 million barrels, a quarter of which is currently lost to unrest.
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