Americans and Nigerian Detained, Turned Out to be Part of Film Crew
Four people from Seattle and a Nigerian man accompanying them were detained for supposedly traveling illegally in southern Nigeria, according to officials.
Security forces that have been fighting militants in the Niger Delta have barred outsiders from going near the region, with the vast wetland region as a military zone.
The detainees were not been identified, but Nigerian Gen. Wuyep Rintip said the group was detained because they were disobeying the ban and would be flown back to the capital, Abuja. There, the group is to receive assistance from the U.S. consul.
Nigerian Detainees Part of Documentary Film Crew
Since being detained, a Seattle news release identified the group as part of the crew for the documentary Sweet Crude. Sandi Cioffi, the director, along with Tammi Sims, Cliff Worsham, and Sean Porter, as well as Nigerian peace mediator Joel Bisina, were among the detainees.
The crew was aware of the dangers of the region, according to a spokeswoman for Sweet Crude. A representative from the State Department from the embassy in Abuja was on their way to see the film crew.
In the past few months, several foreigners have been detained for being in the Niger Delta region, including two documentary filmmakers, who were expelled from the country due to alleged visa violations.
Nigeria’s Oil Problem
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer, pumping crude from the Niger Delta. This area of the country is extremely impoverished, despite the rich natural resource. The creeks and swamps of the area are guarded by armed groups that steal crude oil for resale.
Some of these gunmen have launched militant attacks hoping to pressure the government into sending more government-controlled oil revenues to the area. Due to these attacks, nearly a quarter of Nigeria’s daily crude output has been cut, contributing to the massive sky-rocketing in oil prices across the world.
Sweet Crude is a documentary focusing on the warring oil region. Nigeria is also notorious for its corrupt and polluting petroleum industry.
Source: Associated Press
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