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Nigerian militants attack Shell facility, take hostages from oil ship


Forbes/Thomson Financial News: Nigerian militants attack Shell facility, take hostages from oil ship

05.04.08, 1:25 PM ET

LAGOS (Thomson Financial) – Niger Delta militants attacked facilities belonging to Anglo-Dutch oil group Royal Dutch Shell in southern Bayelsa state over the weekend.

Shell confirmed the attack, the latest to hit Nigeria’s largest oil operator in recent weeks, saying that it happened Friday night.

‘A few oil delivery lines are affected and some oil has spilled into the environment,’ Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo said, adding that the company was mobilising its workers to control the spillage.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed Sunday by the Niger Delta’s most prominent armed group, MEND.

The attack was ‘to let the oil companies know that we consider the military gunboats and soldiers guarding their facilities as mere ornaments and can confront them at will,’ said a MEND statement sent by email to AFP.

The group said it had destroyed the facility in the attack, in Bayelsa state, thus hitting Shell’s output there.

However, MEND said on Saturday it was considering a ceasefire following an appeal from US Democratic party presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama.

‘Obama is someone we respect and hold in high esteem,’ it said.

Separately, Nigerian militants have also attacked an oil ship off the coast of the west African country and took two people hostage, according to a military spokesman.

‘The captain, a white man whose identity is still unknown, and the Nigerian engineer of the ship were abducted by the gunmen,’ Lieutenant-Colonel Musa Sagir told AFP.

‘The attack took place 15 nautical miles northwest from the Bonny channel,’ he said, adding that the military have launched a hunt for the attackers.

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