Kidnap of French off Nigeria 'classic piracy': minister
The kidnap of three French sailors from an oil field supply vessel working off Nigeria was a "classic act of piracy" and not a political attack, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Thursday.
"I think, from memory, that there were around 100 acts of piracy in 2009 in the Gulf of Guinea," Morin told France 24 television, hours after the three were seized aboard the French-flagged Bourbon Alexandre.
"Everything points to it being a classic act of piracy," he added.
Some of the armed gangs operating in the waters off the Niger Delta brand themselves separatist militants, but almost all kidnappings are settled with the payment of a ransom and authorities view them as simple bandits.
© 2010 AFP