Posted by AFP on
An armed separatist group in southern Nigeria has requested a doctor to tend to one of four foreign oil workers being held hostage because he is "seriously ill", a newspaper has reported.
ROME (AFP) - An armed separatist group in southern Nigeria has requested a doctor to tend to one of four foreign oil workers being held hostage because he is "seriously ill", a newspaper has reported.
"One of the Italian hostages is seriously ill and we are giving permission to a doctor from the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders (MSF) to come and see him," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an email message published by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Monday.
On December 7, the group abducted four foreign oil workers -- three Italians and one Lebanese -- released their photographs to the media, and later stepped up attacks on Italian Agip and Anglo-Dutch Shell facilities in Rivers and Bayelsa States.
The Italian foreign ministry was trying to establish the authenticity of the email on Monday, the Ansa news agency said.
"This man has been losing blood for almost a week and is almost not moving any more. He is probably suffering from dehydration. We are doing our best to care for him given the circumstances and the Christmas spirit," according to the email, which did not identify the ill hostage.
According to the email, received late on Sunday, a doctor would be taken to a place that was easily accessible. It said the doctor must be Nigerian and bring necessary equipment and medication with him.
The email message was signed by a certain "Jomo Gbomo, a pseudonym used, at his own admission, by the leader of the group," the website said.
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