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Militants attack Nigeria oil field

Group abducts S. Koreans, demands release of leaders

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LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigerian militants on Wednesday staged a bloody attack on an oil facility in the Port Harcourt area, abducting five South Korean oil workers to be held until two imprisoned local leaders are freed from jail, militants told CNN.

E-mails and phone calls from the militants to reporters in Nigeria described a huge attack on the facility, a strike that caused deaths and injuries.

A militant told CNN that 10 boats with seven people on each vessel staged the attack for the purpose of freeing two prominent Ijaws, the ethnic group predominant in the oil-rich region.

One militant told CNN that 17 Nigerian security forces were killed, a naval gunboat was sunk, and a drilling rig and a naval houseboat were destroyed. But another e-mail indicated that the number of deaths could not be determined.

The militant referred to the South Koreans as "prisoners of war" and said the captives are being treated well. AK-47s and machine guns also were seized from the Nigerian forces, the militant said.

This is the latest kidnapping incident in southern Nigeria, where militants, demanding a greater share of oil wealth for the Niger Delta region, have engaged in kidnapping and sabotage against oil industry targets.

On Friday, six Britons, an American and a Canadian were kidnapped from an oil rig off the Nigerian coast and were released on Sunday.

The Wednesday action was significant because it involved a coalition -- the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the Martyrs Brigade, and the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force.

The militants are calling for the release of Dokubo Asari, NDPVF militia leader who had been charged with treason last year, and Diepreye Alamiesegha, an ex-governor of the region who has been charged with corruption.

They have identified the Korean hostages as H.J. Kwon, A. Park, S.B. Kim, O.K. Kim, and H.D. Kim and called for an exchange of hostages.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry told CNN five South Korean and a Nigerian were abducted early Wednesday in the Port Harcourt area. Nine other South Koreans fled and were hiding from the militants who staged the kidnappings.

Three of the kidnapped South Koreans are from Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., and two are from Korea Gas Corp., the Foreign Ministry said. No information was immediately available on the abducted Nigerian.

This comes as Edmund Daukoru, Nigeria's oil minister, visited South Korea this week to promote investment.

The militants did not make reference to the kidnapped Nigerian. They said they took five S. Korean oil workers "attached to Daewoo, a service company working for Shell."

CNN's Christian Purefoy in Lagos contributed to this report.

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