By Ovie Okpare
The Nigerian military has rescued four Chinese nationals who were abducted in December last year along the waterways off Owendo port in Libreville, Gabon’s capital city.
A captain was said to have been killed during the attack.
NIGER DELTA TODAY Online learned that the victims were rescued by operatives of the Joint Task Force codenamed Operation Delta Safe (ODS) last week Thursday along the Nigerian high seas of Delta and Ondo States.
Conflicting reports had it that the expatriates were abducted while working at an oil ring in the outskirt of Libreville, while others sources claimed the captives were employees of two fishing vessels belonging to Sigapeche, a Sino-Gabonese company.
Their captors ferried the victims into the Nigerian waterways where they were rescued following intelligence reports from Chinese and Gabonese government.
It was gathered that victims had been released to their various country’s embassy in Nigeria.
It was not clear if the Nigerian military arrested any of the captors during the rescue operation comprising operatives of the Nigerian military, Department of State Service and police.
Our correspondent further learn that the four released Chinese hostages returned to their country on Sunday after they were presented to their country’s representatives in Nigeria.
“They’re rescued by JTF on Thursday. The rescued hostages include four Chinese. They were working at the country’s (Gabonese) rivers when sea pirates Gabon abducted them.
“They have been handed over to their country’s embassies in Nigeria. The Chinese nationals have returned to their country”, a top security source told NIGER DELTA TODAY Online.
Meanwhile, Chinese Consul-General in Nigeria, Chu Maoming confirmed the release of the victims in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
The Consulate in a statement on its website said the consulate general in Lagos cooperated with the relevant agencies to carry out rescue efforts and the hostages were released safely.
It added that Maoming visited the freed sailors before they returned to their country.
However, efforts to speak with spokesman of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region, Major Jonah Unuakhalu, whose men successfully rescued the victims proved abortive.
Calls to Major Unuakhalu’s telephone number at the time of filing this report rang out while text message sent to his line was not responded to at the time of filing this report.
Recall that the Nigerian Navy (NN), Central Naval Command (CNC) had last week rescued two Russians and an Indian who were abducted off the Ramos River entrance, bordering Delta and Bayelsa states, on January 2nd.