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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 05:11 GMT
Filipinos face Nigeria work ban
Militants in Nigeria's Niger Delta - file photo
Attacks by militants on Nigeria's oil industry have escalated
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has barred Philippine workers from going to Nigeria until six seamen who were abducted at the weekend are released.

The sailors were snatched from a merchant ship heading to the southern city of Warri.

Nigerian authorities say they have been told the men are in good health.

Nearly 100 foreign hostages, mostly oil workers, have been kidnapped in recent months in the restive oil-producing Niger Delta region.

There are almost 4,000 Filipinos in Nigeria, most of them working in the oil industry.

"The president has ordered a temporary halt to deployments to Nigeria until the security of our nationals is guaranteed," presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in Manila.

In recent months attacks by the militants have escalated, causing oil multinationals to evacuate thousands of workers from the western side of the region.

Five Chinese telecommunications engineers were released last Thursday after being kidnapped from the Niger Delta region on 5 January.

The instability in the region has cut Nigeria's oil production by at least 20%, costing the country some $4.4bn (2.2bn) last year, according to the government.


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