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Shell Pipeline Attacked in Nigeria


Tuesday, August 11, 2009 As of 11.07 AM (GMT+1 hours)


LONDON — A natural gas pipeline serving a plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell PLC has been attacked by locals in the Niger Delta, the Nigerian army said Tuesday, underscoring the ongoing risk of violence despite a cease-fire.

Joint Task Force spokesman Colonel Rabe Abubakar said “there was an attack by the locals” over the weekend on a pipeline serving the Utorogu gas plant in Delta State, in the western part of the region.

The pipeline transports gas from a local field to the plant, which is jointly owned by Shell Nigeria and the state-owned Nigeria Gas Co.

The attack comes after militants and the army decreed a cease-fire following a presidential amnesty offer.

But critics of the peace process say it won’t solve the region’s chronic underdevelopment. Indeed, the episode shows that community unrest — tied to a lack of dividend from the presence of oil companies — continues.

“Aggrieved” locals were behind the attack, not militants, Col. Abubakar said. The JTF “are there to secure the facilities” and have contacted the community leaders, “who agreed there would not be attacks again,” he said.

Shell “had to shut down the pipeline to control the damage,” he added.

Shell couldn’t immediately be reached comment.

Write to Benoit Faucon at [email protected]

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