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Three foreign oil workers freed in Nigeria--police

Written by: Staff
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PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, May 12 (Reuters) Three foreign oil workers, including an Italian, taken hostage in Nigeria yesterday were released early today, police said.

The three employees of Italian oil contractor Saipem were abducted at gunpoint by members of a community where Saipem was working and which was in dispute with the company over its community programme.

''They have been released. The issues of disagreement must have been resolved,'' Rivers State Police Commissioner Samuel Agbetuyi told Reuters by telephone.

A Bukuma leader, Mbaka Harmony, told a local radio station that that the community was demanding 300 million naira (2.3 million dollars) in compensation for environmental damage caused by Saipem's laying of a pipeline through the area.

In Rome, the Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed the release of the Italian national, Vito Macrina, and the two other men.

REUTERS SI RK1238

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