Italy's foreign minister says 3 Italians kidnapped Dec. 23 off Nigeria have been freed

Published January 09, 2013

| Associated Press

Italy's foreign minister says three Italian shipmen kidnapped Dec. 23 off Nigeria's coast have been freed.

Minister Giulio Terzi said in a statement Wednesday that the three men would be returning home to Italy soon.

Gunmen had attacked their supply ship, the Asso21 operated by Naples-based shipping company Augusta Offshore SpA, and taken the men hostage on Dec. 23 as they sailed off the coast of Bayelsa state. It was the latest attack in the West African region that is increasingly dangerous for shippers and oil companies.

Terzi said their freedom was the fruit of successful diplomatic efforts by Italian and Nigerian officials.

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