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Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Soldiers, militia fighters clash at Shell oil platform at dawn

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigerian troops battled militia fighters in swamps around a Royal Dutch Shell oil platform that militants attacked at dawn Sunday. It was the third assault on Shell oil facilities in less than a week.
Shell confirmed the attack on the Benisede oil platform in the southern Niger Delta and said some of its staff were taken to a hospital. The company also said it was evacuating vulnerable facilities.
In a statement, Shell said “heavily armed persons” in speedboats attacked the platform early Sunday, burn- ing down staff accommodations and damaging the facility.
Soldiers guarding Benisede returned automatic-weapons fire, but it was unclear whether they had lost control of the platform, said Brig. Gen. Elias Zamani, commander of a task force charged with security in the volatile oil region.
Zamani had no other details of the fighting.
Residents reported continuous gunfire and the firing of heavy guns. “There is a war going on here,” Enitowari Inengi, a resident near Benisede, said by telephone. “People are scared and are taking their boats and moving away.”
On Wednesday, gunmen attacked Shell's EA platform near the delta coast, seizing a Bulgarian, an American, a Briton and a Honduran. A major Shell pipeline was blown up the next day.
The first two attacks initially forced a 10 percent drop in Nigeria's oil exports.

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