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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 22:31 GMT 23:31 UK
Russian hostages freed in Nigeria
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Six Russians kidnapped by gunmen more than two months ago from an aluminium firm in southern Nigeria have been freed, government officials say.

The four men and two women are reportedly in good health.

They were seized on 3 June in the south-eastern town of Ikot Abasi, and their Nigerian driver was shot dead.

Kidnappings - more often of oil workers - have become a common occurrence in the south of Nigeria. Victims tend to be released after a ransom is paid.

The Russians were working at an aluminium-smelting plant controlled by Russia Aluminium (Rusal), the world's largest aluminium producer.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has welcomed their release: "If the reports are true, we are satisfied with the outcome of the affair," a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Krivtsov, told RIA Novosti news agency.

"The work for the liberation of the Russians has been long and painstaking. We are satisfied that the matter was resolved in a positive way," he said.

It was not clear which group kidnapped the Russians.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has said tackling the unrest in the south is one of his top priorities.


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