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Abducted workers from Nigeria released

The seven workers taken hostage from a Nigerian work site last week have been released.
Three Australians and two New Zealanders were among the seven mine workers who were kidnapped from Macmahon Holdings’ Calabar mine site last Wednesday.

The driver of the vehicle the workers were travelling in was shot dead during the incident.

Macmahon CEO Sybrandt van Dyk said he was relieved that all seven men were released. 
“Our men are all in a safe location but unfortunately, five of them were injured during the incident. Three of our men have wounds and two remain in a serious but stable condition this morning,” Mr van Dyk said. 
Two of the men have suspected rib injuries and they all are receiving specialist medical attention.
“Our priority now is to ensure all of them are stabilised and ultimately given the all clear to travel.”
Mr van Dyk said Macmahon will continue to support the workers and their families during this difficult time.
“I would also like to offer my condolences to the family of the local driver, Matthew Odok, who was killed during the initial incident,” he said. 
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Security and safety risks facing Australian and other international companies operating in Africa have been proven to be diverse over the last several years.

In the last few years companies have had to manage risks from Ebola and other diseases as well as operational security issues such as armed abduction. The use of in-country risk assessments from local teams experienced in cultural and workforce issues form an integral part of overall risk modelling for operations overseas.

Wayne Floreani, a principal with MineAfrica Business Development , said that “doing business in Africa is complex and that companies face a wide range of issues in running their businesses.”

Companies must consider security protection for local and expat staff, a means for protecting physical assets in remote areas including plant and equipment, emergency management plans (including emergency extraction of staff where necessary) and means for managing relationships with local security forces.

Without effective infrastructure and/or  stable governments, mining and energy companies are often left on their own to respond to critical incidents.

McMahon’s crisis management team together with the company’s security advisors have worked extensively with Australian, New Zealand and South African authorities.

“Last night’s outcome was the result of an incredible team effort. However, on behalf of Macmahon, I would like to thank Nigerian authorities at both the
local and federal level who provided us with professional support every step of the way and assisted us with the safe recovery of our men,” Mr van Dyk said. 
“We are also grateful for the efforts of the Australian, New Zealand and South African authorities and to the team of specialist international security advisors who have worked to help us secure this outcome.”

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AMSJ April 2022