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Nigeria navy says German sailors released

Twelve foreign sailors, including two German crew members, taken hostage by pirates off Nigeria's southern delta have been released, Nigerian authorities said on Sunday.

A ship with a target directed at it

Piracy is a growing problem off the coast of Nigeria

A Nigerian navy spokesman announced Sunday that 12 foreign sailors taken hostage by pirates off the West African country's coast had been safely released.

Commodore David Nabaida told the Associated Press that the hostages, including two German sailors, were in good condition after pirates released them onto a fishing trawler off the coast of the Niger Delta. Nabaida, however, did not say whether a ransom had been paid to secure the men's release.

Pirates boarded the German-flagged cargo ship "BBC Palonia" Friday night off the coast of the Niger Delta, taking hostage the crew of twelve, which also included sailors from Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine.

Special security force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonol Timothy Antigha confirmed to news agency AFP that the sailors were en route toward Bonny, in the Delta of Niger, where their boat was anchored.

Pirate attacks have become more frequent in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, with hundreds - including both Nigerians and foreigners - being kidnapped in recent years.

Most hostages are released after a few days or weeks in captivity, in most cases following payment of a ransom.

Author: Gabriel Borrud/David Levitz (AFP/AP/dpa)
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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