Briton and his son seized in Nigeria

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The Independent Online
A BRITISH worker for Shell and his two-and-a-half-year-old son were kidnapped in southern Nigeria yesterday.

Police and the military were hunting three armed youths who seized the father and son in the southern town of Warri, and fled the scene in a speedboat, local news reports said.

Shell International last night named the employee as Martin Westbury, who is the head teacher of the Shell school in Warri, southern Nigeria. His son was taken hostage at the same time.

Mr Westbury is the second Briton to be taken hostage in a week. An oil worker, Jim Simpson, was taken hostage in the same town last Tuesday. He has not been released yet.

Mr Simpson, who works for an oilfield service company, Oiltools (Africa) Ltd, was abducted with two co-workers, an Italian and a Nigerian.

The kidnappers, also believed to be youths from the community in the Nigel delta area, later released the Italian unharmed.

The Shell spokeswoman said other Western oil workers who had been kidnapped in the region had all been released unharmed. "Most of the recent incidents have been where local youths have been trying to draw attention to the way oil revenue is redistributed," she said.

Despite the potential wealth from oil in the region, many towns and villages in the Niger delta exist in poverty, without electricity, clean water or medical clinics.

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