“It could be a criminal, terrorist or political act,” Valero said in a telephone interview today. “We don’t know yet. We haven’t received any claims.” Five of the hostages are French citizens, one is from Madagascar and one from Togo, he said.
The two companies said today in an e-mailed statement they are working with Nigerian and French authorities to free employees taken hostage during the night of Sept. 15 to 16. Five employees of Vinci’s Satom subsidiary and one Areva employee and his wife were kidnapped in Arlit, northern Niger, the companies said.
Both Vinci and Areva said they have increased security for their employees in the area.