- Nigeria's main militant group has rescued a Lebanese hostage who was snatched by gunmen on Monday at a construction site in southern oil city of Port Harcourt.
Mr Melad Nasari was rescued by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) raid today in a hideout established by the kidnappers in the bush.
MEND on Monday rejected accusations that it was involved in the attack and kidnapping of Mr Nasari in Southern Nigerian, vowing to assist victim's employers to rescue and return him unharmed by locating and negotiating with his abductors.
"A commando unit from MEND conducted a successful rescue of Mr Nasari as promised from deep inside the bush where he was confined by his abductors," MEND said in an e-mailed statement.
The group said Lebanese man will be handed over to state security operatives soon, saying it had also rescued a second victim who was being held by what it said was a criminal gang.
"Both men are in the safe custody of our men and are now en route to the drop-off zone where they will be handed to contacts from the state security service," statement said.
Over 200 foreign workers have been kidnapped in nearly three years of rising violence across southern Nigeria. The hostages are normally released after a ransom is paid.
The region has long been racked by insecurity, particularly since militants launched a campaign of sabotage against the oil industry two years ago to push for a greater share of wealth generated by five decades of oil extraction.
MEND, which has blown up pipelines and seized foreigners in the past, has claimed to be fighting for development of delta and has tried to distance itself from purely criminal gangs which have taken advantage of the breakdown in law and order.
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