A British oil worker has been killed and an Italian seriously wounded during a  botched attempt to free seven workers seized by Nigerian militants in the troubled Niger Delta. A Nigerian navy spokesman told the BBC that the remaining five foreign hostages had been rescued unharmed, while two militants were killed.

The hostages – two Finns, an Italian, a Filipino, a Briton, a Pole and a Romanian – worked for Italian firm Eni. The hostages had been seized from a supply ship off the Niger Delta coast by 10 armed men on speedboats early on Wednesday morning.

Nigerian forces became involved in a shoot-out with the kidnappers during the rescue attempt. “The Nigerian soldiers intercepted their ship and tried to free the people kidnapped,” Gianni di Giovanni, a spokesman for Eni, told BBC News 24.

“In this situation, unfortunately, one of these colleagues was killed, and another was injured.”

All the indicators are that the violence will get worse towards next year’s presidential elections.