Nigerian gunmen capture oil workers

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At least seven oil workers have been kidnapped in Nigeria's oil-rich southern region, the latest reports indicate.

The workers were reportedly laying pipelines off the coast off Bayelsa State and were in a boat when they were attacked. Officials have confirmed that four of those seized were British, with the three others believed to be from the US - although some reports claim an Indian and a South African were also involved in the incident.

More than 100 foreign oil workers have been kidnapped in the creeks that form the Niger Delta in recent times - although the hostages are normally released after a ransom has been paid. Kidnappers always deny that they have released workers, however.

The militant groups behind the attacks say that they want a larger share of oil revenues and also want to see the release of two leaders currently under arrest on charges of money laundering and treason.

Oil workers, demanding welfare benefits, have just completed the second day of strike action in Nigeria - and these factors appear to be driving up the price of oil, as supply worries continue.

London crude climbed by 28 cents to $71 a barrel this afternoon (Friday) - after reaching a nine-month high of $71.80 yesterday.

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