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Daily Telegraph: Gunmen target Nigeria chief

Nigerian Vice-President Elect Jonathan

(Nigerian vice-president Goodluck Jonathan was elected in the heavily criticised poll last month)

By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
Last Updated: 1:59am BST 17/05/2007

Gunmen blew up the house of Nigeria’s vice-president-elect yesterday and kidnapped a child in the latest attacks in the oil-rich south, which has seen crude output reduced by a third.
Armed men arrived in speedboats and stormed the creek-side home of Goodluck Jonathan. They used dynamite to destroy the sprawling villa in Bayelsa state, where Mr Jonathan was governor until recently.

Mr Jonathan, who was elected in the heavily criticised poll last month in which Umaru Yar Adua won the presidency, was not at home.

Security forces airlifted his elderly parents to safety as the unknown attackers escaped.

Later, kidnappers burst into a house in an affluent suburb of Port Harcourt, the oil region’s capital, and seized a child, whose age and nationality were not released by police.

The attacks came after a month of soaring insecurity in the Niger river delta, where more than 100 foreign oil workers including two Britons have been kidnapped since the start of the year.

Militants demanding a greater investment of oil money in the six run-down oil-producing delta states have been blamed. They are still holding 13 expatriates.

Both Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil firm, and the US-based Chevron have evacuated non-essential staff.

Neither said it had plans to halt operations completely. But the wave of raids following the elections has forced leading multi-nationals to halt production of 335,000 barrels of oil per day.

This was on top of a drop of 600,000 barrels after a surge in militant operations against oil companies in February, and leaves Nigeria facing a one-third cut in production.

A six-day siege of a Shell pipeline by armed youths ended peacefully yesterday.

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