Six foreign oil workers were kidnapped and a Nigerian sailor was killed when dynamite-wielding gunmen attacked an oil vessel early Tuesday, a navy spokesman said.
Capt. Obiora Medani said the sailor was a guard aboard the Chevron Corp. ship, which was attacked off Bayelsa state, in the oil-rich south of the West African country. Medani had no further information on the Tuesday morning attack on FPSO Oloibiri, which is stationed offshore to store crude oil.
In a separate incident, gunmen seized the mother of the newly elected governor of neighboring Rivers state, police said.
Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu said the mother of Governor-elect Celestine Omeiha was kidnapped overnight from her home. The kidnappers have not yet made any demands.
"We have some clues and we are working on it," Ogbaudu said.
Nigeria is both one of Africa's richest countries and one of its most problem-laden, with vast oil reserves but also rampant corruption and violent crime. Ballot-box stuffing was widespread in recent nationwide elections in which the ruling party claimed victory, dismissing criticism by international and domestic observers.
Omeiha, a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party, was elected governor of Nigeria's richest state in the poll two weeks ago. On the day of the vote, two police stations were set on fire and seven officers killed.
The parents and sister of an opposition candidate for the legislature were kidnapped, and he was told his family would be murdered if he discussed election irregularities.
The following week an attempt was made to kidnap the candidate who would become vice president-elect as he returned to vote in his home in the oil delta.
Competition is fierce for lucrative government posts in Africa's largest oil exporter. Despite generating tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue annually, most people live below the poverty line and massive government corruption has meant social services are largely nonexistent.
Rivers state alone has an annual budget of US$1.3 billion but most of the money designated for roads, clinics or schools has been stolen.
Kidnapping foreign workers for cash has become common in the lawless region. However, the rate of attacks has fallen during last month's elections as armed groups hired themselves out as political thugs.
Associated Press Writer Dan Udoh contributed to this report from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.