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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 RusAl Employees Abducted From Compound in Nigeria

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Nigerian gunmen kidnapped six Russians and shot dead a local driver in a dawn attack on a RusAl residential compound of in the southeastern town of Ikot Abasi, authorities said Sunday.

The abductions took to 30 the number of foreigners being held by different armed groups in the lawless southern delta, where the kidnapping of expatriates has become an almost daily occurrence.

Russia's ambassador to Nigeria, Igor Melikhov, said the six men had been abducted by bandits who stormed the residential compound in two minivans. The men were working at the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, or ALSCON, which is controlled by United Company RusAl.

Security sources working for foreign firms in the southern delta said the militants blew up the apartment with explosives before kidnapping the six workers.

The identity of the kidnappers and their demands were not immediately known.

RusAl spokeswoman Vera Kurochkina said the company was taking steps to resolve the situation and free the hostages.

"We are very worried by events happening in Nigeria," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said, RIA-Novosti reported.

"Our embassy will provide all necessary support for the representatives of RusAl who plan to arrive in Nigeria in the near future and join the rescue effort," he said.

RusAl acquired a 77.5 percent stake in the ailing ALSCON in 2005 and said in February that it was working to restart the 193,000 tons per year smelter, located in Akwa Ibom state, by December. The company said it was investing $150 million in the plant.

The Nigerian government retains a 15 percent stake in the smelter, and Germany's Ferrostaal holds 7.5 percent.