National News

Oct 28, 2013 2:52 PM by ABC News

UPDATE: Negotiators contact group holding U.S. seamen hostage

A U.S. government official tells ABC News that third-party negotiators "have made contact" with the group holding two U.S. citizens hostage in Nigeria.

"They're going to pay it," the official said of the ransom demand. The amount of money being sought has not been relayed to government officials dealing with the situation in New York and Washington.

Reiterating what ABC reported last week, the official said the U.S. government is not considering any type of operation to rescue the men who were taken from a U.S.-flagged oil-supply vessel.

The official also pronounced as untrue unconfirmed reports that have surfaced since Friday suggesting that the Americans might have been turned over to extremist groups - something that would have complicated efforts to secure their release.

On Oct. 23, an unknown number of armed pirates stormed the C-Retriever, a 222-foot vessel owned by U.S. marine transport group Edison Chouest Offshore, and separated the crew by nationality. They took the two Americans - the captain and chief engineer -- with them.

The pirates damaged the communications and navigation equipment on the ship as they departed with their captives, possibly in an effort to delay notification to authorities.

The men are now believed to be on land. And the FBI in New York, which deals with Africa cases, is coordinating efforts to get the men back.

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