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Employees at the Russian Embassy in Nigeria will participate in negotiations to secure the release of a Belarusian woman abducted in the oil-rich African state
Employees at the Russian Embassy in Nigeria will participate in negotiations to secure the release of a Belarusian woman abducted in the oil-rich African state, an Embassy official said Tuesday. The woman, who is married to a Nigerian and is a senior manager with the local branch of the British services company Compass Group, was kidnapped Saturday night while returning from work in the country's main oil city. Gunmen stopped her car and took the woman away, demanding $1.2 million in ransom. "Two employees of our Embassy have left today for Port Harcourt, where Belarusian national Irina Ekpo-Umo was abducted. They will try to establish closer contacts with local law enforcement officials and find out what actions are being taken to secure her release," said Viktor Goncharov, a counselor at the Russian embassy. The diplomat also said the Russian Embassy, which is handling the case at the request of Belarus, which has no diplomatic mission in the African country, had applied to the Nigerian Foreign Ministry for assistance in resolving the incident. Goncharov said Monday, referring to Compass Group, that the woman was alive and in a satisfactory condition and that the abductors had made no other demands. Militants fighting against the Nigerian government for greater autonomy in the oil-rich Niger Delta have intensified their attacks lately on oil industry facilities that are largely run by Western companies. The latest kidnapping has brought the total number of foreign workers abducted in Nigeria to 28 in a week. Eight hostages have already been released.
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