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GlobalContinuity.com: Battle over Nigerian oil platform

Author: Jim Ensom

Nigerian troops have been fighting militia fighters in swamps around a Royal Dutch Shell PLC oil platform that militants attacked on 11 March 2007, the third assault on Shell oil facilities in less than a week in the troubled region.

Shell confirmed the attack on the Benisede oil platform in the southern oil-rich Niger Delta and said some of its staff had been injured and taken to hospital.

Militants have carried out attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Delta and the UK government believes that armed groups may be planning further attacks on oil and gas industry targets in the Delta, and other non oil and gas industry targets and individuals throughout the country. On 18 December 2006 two bombs exploded in Port Harcourt, one in a Shell residential compound and the other at Agip’s headquarters.  Further attacks are possible. As a result Shell have evacuated all dependants from the residential compound in Port Harcourt.  Other companies have followed suit.
 
According to the UK Foreign Office, there is an ongoing high risk of politically or financially motivated kidnapping, especially in the Niger Delta.  In nine separate incidents 22 British nationals were kidnapped between January and November 2006, one of whom was killed.  On 23 January 2007, a British national and a US national were taken hostage while driving to work in Port Harcourt.

A US Department of State spokesman said, “The security situation in the Niger Delta region has deteriorated significantly over the past year.  Travel to the region remains dangerous and should be avoided.  Throughout the year, a number of expatriate workers in the oil industry, including American citizens, have been held hostage for days or weeks.”

Published: 13/03/2007 07:31 GMT

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