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Militants Vacate Oil Platform, Release Hostages in S Nigeria
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Local militants vacated an Agip oil platform they seized two weeks ago and released about 40 hostages in southern Nigeria, a government official said on Monday.

Victor Akenge, an official of the southern Bayelsa State government, said that the militants left the flow station on Sunday morning and released the people they took hostage, adding that the hostages were " in good health."

He denied any ransoms have been paid for the release of the oil facility and the hostages.

The militants attacked the oil platform operated by Italian oil company Agip in southern Nigerian region of Niger Delta in Bayelsaon Nov. 6.

Occupying oil facilities or taking oil workers hostage is common in southern Nigeria.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and the sixth largest oil exporter in the world with oil exports accounting for around 95 percent of its foreign currency receipts.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2006)

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