Al-Qaeda Forums Back Guerrilla Drive Against Foreign Oil Companies
Rome, 8 March. (AKI) - Internet forums close to the al-Qaeda network have claimed responsibility for guerilla operations against foreign oil companies in the Niger Delta in Nigeria. In an apparent link between international jihadi groups and the ongoing unrest in the oil-rich African nation, the websites have published photos of nine employees of the US petrol company Willbros, kidnapped on 18 February. Their captors are guerillas fighting to force foreign oil companies to abandon the area and ensure the income from the industry is detinated to the local Ijaw ethnic group.

"Photos of the Lions of Nigeria after having taken prisoner some Americans" runs the headline, with the following text: "Allah supports you oh Lions of Nigeria! These are the photos of the mujahadeen in Nigeria after the seizure of nine hostages from the US oil companies who rob the wealth of Muslim Nigeria and of the world. Subsequently six of them were freed and they are Muslims while the American pigs remain in their hands."

The message refers to the liberation on 1 March of six of the hostages. The first to be freed was an elderly American, Macon Hawkins, who suffers from diabetes and was freed on his 69th birthday. After that two Egyptians, two Thais and a Philippino worker were also released. Two American citizens and one Briton are still being held.
Posted by: Steve 2006-03-08