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The New York Times: Delta Villages Fear Troops in Nigeria

Published: January 26, 2006
WARRI, Nigeria, Jan. 25 (Reuters) — Villagers fled Nigeria's lawless delta on Wednesday amid fears of military reprisals after a wave of attacks on foreign oil companies by ethnic Ijaw militiamen.
The army deployed more troops to major installations, and oil companies tightened security around offices a day after heavily armed men stormed the headquarters of the Italian oil firm Agip, robbing a bank on the premises and killing eight policemen and a civilian.
“There are soldiers everywhere, and I don't want my three girls in the firing line,” said Return Powei, who lives in the remote village of Ogbotobo. “Our youths run into the forest when they hear the soldiers are coming. Everyone is moving out of Ogbotobo.”
It was not clear if the attack on Agip, a unit of ENI of Italy, was the work of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, whose five-week campaign of sabotage and kidnapping has contributed to an increase in oil prices.
The group said it would make Royal Dutch Shell suffer unless it paid $1.5 billion to delta villages in compensation for decades of oil pollution, which is one of its demands for releasing four foreign hostages.
The government has set up a committee to negotiate the release of four oil workers kidnapped Jan. 11.

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