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AFX Europe (Focus): Shell confirms casualties in Nigerian militant attack

LAGOS (AFX) – Royal Dutch Shell said that “a number of casualties” were sustained when militants raided its gas installation in southern Nigeria today, and kidnapped five South Koreans.

“The SDPC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) regretfully understood that there have been a number of casualties and that five Korean contractor staff (working for Daewoo and Kogas) have been abducted,” Shell said in a statement.

“The Cawthorne Channel Gas Plant in SDPC’s eastern area of operations was in the early hours of Wednesday attacked by an armed group.

“The plant has been shut down pending assessment of any damage, resulting in the loss of some 70 million standard cubic feet per day of gas production,” the statement said.

“We will be taking all necessary steps to assist the Nigerian authorities and contractor companies in obtaining their safe release.”

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said it had attacked the gas plant in southern Nigeria this morning in response to a court decision earlier in the day to deny bail to guerrilla leader Mujahid Dokubo Asari.

MEND said it was prepared to free the hostages in exchange for the release of Asari, the leader of the illegal Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, who was arrested in September last year and is standing trial for treason.

Nigerian authorities said at least three security force members died in the attack and four others were injured, while MEND said it lost one man and had two casualties. afp/jlw

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