Two abducted Russian sailors released by Nigerian militants

Two Russian sailors of a merchant ship captured off Cameroon in May and transferred to Nigeria have been released.

Updated: Jul 04, 2010, 21:01 PM IST

Moscow: Two Russian sailors of a merchant
ship captured off Cameroon in May and transferred to Nigeria
have been released for a ransom, the Russian Union of
Seafarers said on Sunday.

The Greece-owned `North Spirit` vessel under the flag
of St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a Russian-Ukrainian
crew was attacked on May 16 while anchored in Cameroon`s
largest port of Douala. Douala is the commercial capital of
Cameroon.

The sailors` union declined to specify the amount of
the ransom.

It was earlier reported that Nigerian militants had
demanded a USD 1.5 million ransom for the release of the the
Russian captain and chief engineer, RIA Novosti reported.

The `Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger
Delta`, one of the largest militant groups in the Niger Delta
region of Nigeria, has been linked to attacks on foreign-owned
companies in the oil-rich but impoverished region.

The news about the release of Russian sailors
coincided with President Dmitry Medvedev`s announcement that
Moscow will actively participate in the anti-piracy operations
off the African coast and send its warships for patrolling the
piracy prone shipping channels.

PTI