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Nigeria oil retreat { March 23 2003 }

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   http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2876923.stm

The Associated Press news agency quoted an Ijaw leader, Dan Ekpebide, as threatening to blow up 11 oil installations captured from the three companies in retaliation for army raids.

"We'll blow up these flow stations and blast the pipelines," he said. "We will take Nigeria 20 years backward."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2876923.stm

Last Updated: Sunday, 23 March, 2003, 00:46 GMT
Oil giants in Nigeria retreat
French oil company Elf has scaled back operations in Nigeria's oil-rich western Niger Delta, amid increasing tribal violence in the area.

Some production facilities were shut down and employees evacuated after at least four people were reported killed in an attack on a company facility.

The US oil company Chevron Texaco and, reportedly, the Anglo-Dutch company Shell have already suspended operations in the delta.

Villagers fleeing the violence say dozens of people have been killed in clashes between soldiers and rival gangs of ethnic militants.

Fighting between two local communities, the Ijaw and Itsekiri, has been raging for more than a week, drawing in thousands of soldiers.

Blast threat

Nigerian army sources said two soldiers and at least two civilians were killed in the attack on an Elf flow station.


A retired officer who worked as a security coordinator for Elf was among the dead.
The army accused Ijaw militants of being behind the attack.

The Associated Press news agency quoted an Ijaw leader, Dan Ekpebide, as threatening to blow up 11 oil installations captured from the three companies in retaliation for army raids.

"We'll blow up these flow stations and blast the pipelines," he said. "We will take Nigeria 20 years backward."

Ijaw leaders say a state of siege has been imposed on them, with navy gunboats and troops imposing a 24-hour blockade on the creeks around their villages, according to the AFP news agency.

Military officials have previously denied attacking civilians, and stressed they used minimum force when possible.

Elections

The Ijaw are demanding more political representation and compensation from oil companies operating in the area. They say the oil industry has polluted their fishing communities.

A militant Ijaw leader has said that protests against the Itsekiri and the oil companies will continue until the government addresses the issue.

Our correspondent Dan Isaacs says that this is extremely unlikely ahead of the elections and he says it is difficult to see how an effective poll can take place in this part of the southern Delta under the present circumstances.

He adds that even if the unrest subsides, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have been displaced and election officials will be extremely wary about operating in such an unstable region.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/2876923.stm

Published: 2003/03/23 00:46:06

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