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Nigerian gunmen kill policeman, kidnap Briton

 Reuters UK 

 

Mon Apr 6, 2009 5:26pm BST

* Briton kidnapped from Port Harcourt, police escort shot

* Security consultant shot, man abducted in separate attacks

* Houseboat belonging to South Korean firm raided

By Nick Tattersall and Austin Ekeinde

LAGOS, April 6 (Reuters) – Nigerian gunmen kidnapped a British oil services worker and shot dead one of his police escorts in Port Harcourt late on Sunday, one of a spate of weekend attacks in the oil hub of Africa’s biggest producer.

The British man was thought to be working for Adamac Industries Ltd, a Nigerian supplier of engineering and construction services to foreign oil firms, when he was abducted in the oil hub Port Harcourt, private security sources said.

A police source said two officers had been shot during the kidnapping, one of whom died from his injuries. Police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey said she was checking the details.

In separate incidents, a security consultant whose nationality was not immediately known was shot dead in Port Harcourt on Sunday while a Nigerian manager from a local aluminium company was abducted, the sources said.

Gunmen also attacked and destroyed a houseboat belonging to South Korean engineering firm Daewoo (047040.KS) near Igbomotoru in neighbouring Bayelsa state on Sunday, military spokesman Colonel Rabe Abubakar said.

“The Daewoo house boat was in Igbomotoru (for workers) to lay pipelines belonging to the Italian oil giant Agip (ENI.MI) when it was attacked and destroyed by the suspected militants,” he said.

The attacks come days after President Umaru Yar’Adua said he was ready to grant amnesty to any gunmen in the Niger Delta who agreed to lay down their weapons.

OIL OUTPUT

Bombings of oil pipelines, attacks by gunmen on oil facilities and kidnappings for ransom by armed gangs in the creeks of the delta have cut Nigeria’s oil output sharply over the past three years and hindered the industry’s development.

Insecurity has forced oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), ExxonMobil (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) to move all but their most essential foreign staff out of the region, while the reduced oil output has eaten into Nigeria’s foreign earnings, exacerbating the effects of the global economic downturn.

More than 200 foreign workers have been abducted in the past three years alone although most have been released after payment of a ransom. The armed groups have increasingly also targeted wealthy Nigerians living in and around Port Harcourt.

The main militant group in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has been holding two British oil workers hostage for more than six months. MEND is demanding the release of its leader, Henry Okah, who is on trial for gun-running and treason.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ ) (Editing by Randy Fabi)

 

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