Oil prices drop as Nigerian rebels release British toddler

LONDON, July 9, 2007 (AFP) – World oil prices fell on Monday after rebels in key energy producer Nigeria freed a three-year old British girl. The kidnapping last week of Margaret Hill, along with US supply concerns, had pushed oil prices to near 11-month highs on Friday, above 76 dollars a barrel in London.

In early trading Monday, Brent North Sea crude for August delivery shed 56 cents to 75.06 dollars in London.

New York’s main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August, lost 62 cents to 72.19 dollars.

Hill was back with her relieved parents Monday after being freed by kidnappers in southern Nigeria, but three more foreigners were seized in the oil producing region.

The girl was covered in mosquito bites after her release on Sunday and “in a bit of a daze” but otherwise unharmed, her father Mike Hill said. Police and the parents insisted no ransom was paid.

As the Hill family celebrated in the country’s oil capital of Port Harcourt, Nigerian television reported that armed men had kidnapped three foreigners, believed to be Lebanese or Chinese, from a compound in the city.

More than 200 foreig