Senators: Montanan to be released from custody in Nigeria

U.S. State Department says Tammi Sims, fellow crewmembers, will stay in hotel tonight

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today got word from the U.S. State Department that Montana native Tammi Sims will be released from a Nigerian jail this evening.

Sims is a graduate of Montana State University from Joplin, Mont.  Nigerian security officers detained Sims and three fellow American crewmembers over the weekend while the crew was producing a documentary film about the Nigerian oil industry.

Baucus, Tester and Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., worked tirelessly to get the film crew released since hearing of the incident Saturday evening.

Today, the U.S. State Department told Tester that the crew will be put up in a hotel this evening.  Sims and her fellow crewmembers, Cliff Worsham, Sean Porter and Sandi Cioffi, will have to report back to the Nigerian government on Friday for processing, Tester was told.

Baucus and Tester were upset because the crew was held against their will for more than 100 hours.  According to visa records, they were doing everything "by the book."

"Today's news is an encouraging, however there is still a ways to go before this is all over," Baucus said. "I'll continue to work together with Jon and the U.S. and Nigerian governments until Tammi and her colleagues are safe and sound and back with their loved ones."

"This is good news," Tester said.  "But I will not celebrate until Tammi and her family are reunited here in the United States.  I will continue to keep my fingers crossed, and Sharla and I will continue to pray for Tammi and the rest of the group until they are back on American soil."

Baucus and Tester have been in frequent contact with Sims' family since Saturday.