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Forbes/AFX News Limited: Nigerian militants fire on military chopper in Shell-operated Niger Delta

02.17.2006, 10:02 AM
LAGOS (AFX) – Nigerian militants fired machine guns at a military helicopter as it carried out an air strike on barges they were using to smuggle stolen crude oil, a military spokesman said.
A spokesman for the rebels and a local community leader confirmed details of the clash, which took place on the Chanomi Creek in the swamps of the Niger Delta, an area operated by Royal Dutch Shell, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the oil city of Warri.
Major Said Hammed, a spokesman for a joint military task force fighting rebels in the oil-rich delta, said that the helicopter was undamaged, despite coming under fire from a GPMG, a powerful belt-fed machine gun.
An ethnic Ijaw militant group opposed to both Shell and the government warned Shell that its airstrip is 'now considered a military facility and we will attempt to shoot down any planes landing or taking off from this facility regardless of which company owns the aircraft.'
Shell built and operates the Osubi airstrip in Warri, although the facilities are also used by several operators, including other oil companies and airlines running scheduled domestic flights.
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