JTF rescues kidnapped French sailor in Bayelsa

The victim was kidnapped five days ago.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta said on Tuesday that it had freed a French sailor kidnapped on June 13 in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

Benjamin Élan, 28, was among the missing 15 crewmen of a chemical tanker, MT Adour, attacked by suspected pirates along 30 nautical miles off Lome.

The Commander of the JTF, Major General Bata Dembiro, handed over Mr. Élan to Markson Fefegha, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, in Yenagoa in the presence of journalists.

“The rescue of the French national was made possible by the combined efforts of youths from Bomadi and Ekeremor local government areas.

“The rescued foreign ship worker was abducted in Togo aboard an oil tanker and brought to Bayelsa State by suspected kidnappers,” Mr. Dembiro said.

The JTF commander explained that the new collaborative effort between the security agencies in the state and youth of oil bearing communities would reduce the incidence of sea piracy and kidnapping in the Niger Delta region.

The tanker had discharged the cargo at the port in Togo and was attacked by pirates, who took control of the ship and diverted it to Nigeria. The chemical tanker is registered in Marseille, France.

The vessel is owned and operated by the French company, Sea Tankers Shipping.

Speaking on his experience in the hands of his abductors, the rescued sailor said although the kidnappers were not violent, he was kept in hiding for over six days and was fed on bread and water.

The commissioner had earlier commended the JTF officers for their recent proactive efforts at stamping out criminality and theft along the waterways and creeks of the state.

“The noticeable peace along the waters of Bayelsa and the recorded arrest of criminals, including the killers of the 11 policemen, is wonderful and commendable,” Mr. Fefegha said.


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