Deal Near To Free 4 Workers Kidnapped In Nigeria

OSLO, Norway -- Negotiators are close to a deal to free four foreign workers kidnapped from an oil services ship off the coast of Nigeria last week, Norway's ambassador in Nigeria said on Monday.

Two Norwegians and two Ukrainians were seized at gunpoint on Wednesday, victims in a series of abductions in Africa's top oil producer.

"There is a draft agreement between the negotiators, but it has to be approved by the local state government," Tore Nedreboe told Reuters, saying that the four were unlikely to be released on Monday.

Earlier, Norway's NTB news agency said that an agreement had been reached to free the four. Nedreboe said that talks had been going on with representatives of the kidnappers.

The four worked on a vessel owned by a Norwegian unit of U.S.-based Trico Marine Services Inc. , which services an offshore drilling rig.

Eight foreigners were kidnapped from the same rig for two days in June in a dispute with a nearby community over jobs and investment.

The kidnappers of the two Norwegians and two Ukrainians made similar demands for other communities in the region, Nedreboe said.

Source: Reuters