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Gunmen Attack Naval Houseboat in Nigeria; 5 Dead

Gunmen Attack Naval Houseboat in Nigeria; 5 Dead

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria — A band of suspected militants attacked a naval houseboat stationed in Nigeria’s restive, oil-rich south Wednesday, sparking a gunbattle that left five people dead, military officials said.


About 30 gunmen attacked a boat housing naval personnel assigned to protect strategic oil facilities just before 2 a.m., Rivers State army spokesman Sagir Musa said. An ensuing two-hour gunbattle left three attackers, a naval officer and a civilian dead, Musa said. Several other attackers were shot but fled on stolen patrol boats, he said.


The houseboat was stationed near an oil piping station run by Shell Petroleum Development Co., a joint venture whose major owners are Royal Dutch Shell and the Nigerian government. The station was not targeted, and the attackers maybe have been after weapons on board the boat, Musa said.


There was no immediate claim of responsibility Wednesday.


Nigeria’s main militant group said last week that it would resume attacks in the country’s oil-rich river delta region because of a British pledge to help support the government in ending the conflict there.


Militants want more of Nigeria’s petroleum funds spent developing the impoverished region. Over the past two years, attacks on oil industry infrastructure have slashed Nigeria’s oil output by almost a quarter, helping to push worldwide crude prices to historic highs.


Nigeria is Africa’s top oil producer and routinely is ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.





© 2008 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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