Published: Wednesday August 8, 2012 MYT 3:05:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 8, 2012 MYT 4:44:27 PM
Embassy monitoring case of Malaysian kidnapped by gunmen
PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is closely monitoring the case of a Malaysian abducted by gunmen off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta last Saturday, said Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan A Pillay.
However, he said, there had been no update on the Malaysian who was kidnapped with three other foreigners from Indonesia, Iran and Thailand during a deadly attack on two vessels belonging to an oil and gas services company in the Gulf of Guinea.
"We are still gathering information. The Malaysian embassy in Abuja is monitoring the situation," he told reporters after the flag-hoisting ceremony in conjunction with the 45th Asean Day celebration at Wisma Putra, here Wednesday.
It was reported that gunmen attacked two vessels belonging to an oil and gas services company of the Sea Trucks Group, which provides support vessels to oil companies operating in Nigeria, before dawn on Saturday, 35 nautical miles off Nigeria's oil-rich delta.
The Niger Delta, a region once beset by militant and criminal attacks and kidnappings, has seen relative calm since a government-sponsored amnesty deal a few years ago.
During the recent attack, six naval personnel were stationed on board the Sea Trucks Group vessels following a security request from the company, but two navy sailors were killed while protecting the vessels, two others wounded and the remaining two escaped unhurt.
Nigerian navy spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliyu told AFP that Nigeria had intensified its search for the four foreigners kidnapped.
Spokeswoman Corrie van Kessel for Sea Trucks Group told AFP that the company was focused on the safe release of the hostages.
She declined to say if contacts had been established with the abductors to secure their freedom as it could jeopardise the efforts.
The motive for the attack and identities of the gunmen are still unknown.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in a report released last month that there had been 32 piracy incidents recorded in the Gulf of Guinea in the first half of 2012, up from the 25 attacks last year. - Bernama