Gunmen have kidnapped two sailors from a vessel off the coast of Nigeria’s southern oil-rich Niger Delta.

According to the AFP news agency, the captain and the engineer were taken after an attack on the Turkish-flagged Ilena Mercan near Port Harcourt city.

Their nationalities are not known and the vessel was not taken.

No group has claimed responsibility but kidnappings are common in the Niger Delta by criminal gangs or militants seeking a share of oil revenue.

The unrest has cut Nigeria’s oil output by about 25% in recent years.

On Monday, the area’s most visible group – the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) – released British national Robin Barry Hughes, 59, who had been held since September.

The group said he was released was on the grounds of age and health.

A recent report for Nigeria’s government said violence in the impoverished Niger Delta oil region left 1,000 people dead and cost $24bn (£16bn) last year.


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