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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 RusAl Workers Freed in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- Six Russian hostages were freed in Nigeria's oil producing Niger Delta on Tuesday after two months in captivity, a government spokesman said.

The six, including one woman, were abducted on June 3 from the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, or Alscon, which is controlled by United Company RusAl.

"The six Russian hostages were released to the Rivers state government this evening. They are doing well," said state government spokesman Emma Okah.

The release leaves at least six foreigners still in the hands of armed groups in the vast wetlands region, which is home to Africa's largest oil industry.

RusAl sealed a $250 million deal to acquire a 77.5 percent stake in Alscon in Akwa Ibom from the Nigerian government in February. The acquisition is expected to add almost 150,000 tons annually to RusAl's production capacity.

RusAl announced in March that it would invest an additional $150 million over the next three years to complete, refurbish and modernize the plant.

The Niger Delta is home to Africa's largest oil industry, but the twin factors of poverty and corruption have made investing in the area a security risk and turned the region into a no man's land where abductions of expatriate workers has become routine. (Reuters, MT)