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International Herald Tribune: Gunmen attack Nigeria oil official’s house, killing two family members

The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria: Gunmen on motorbikes stormed the house of a newly appointed energy official in oil-rich southern Nigeria late Monday and killed two of his family members, police said.

Felix Ogbaudu, police commissioner for Rivers state, said Billy Braide had been holding a celebration following his appointment as energy commissioner for Nigeria’s biggest oil-producing state.

Minutes after Braide left the party, gunmen arrived and sprayed the house with bullets, killing Braide’s younger brother and cousin, while others were wounded, Ogbaudu said.

“The junior brother died instantly, while the cousin gave up later in the hospital,” he said.

Political violence has increased since the run-up to countrywide elections in April — which were widely condemned as rigged. Some candidates were murdered during the campaign, while others reported dynamite attacks on their houses and kidnappings of family members.

The elderly mother of Rivers state’s new governor was kidnapped just after his victory was announced.

With a budget of US$1.3 billion (€940 million), restive Rivers is the richest state in Nigeria — Africa’s largest oil producer. Unrest appears to be growing in the southern oil-producing region — with hundreds of foreigners kidnapped and a string of bombings over the last two years.

Analysts say the violence has been exacerbated by the use of local gangs used to intimidate political opponents.

Nigeria is rated as one of the most corrupt country’s in the world by Berlin-based watchdog group Transparency International. Most citizens struggle to get by on less than US$2 a day in a country where unemployment is high and arms are freely available.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/07/24/africa/AF-GEN-Nigeria-Shooting.php

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