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Monsters and Shell puts employees on alert after renewed violence in Niger Delta

Abuja – Royal Dutch Shell put its workers in Nigeria on alert Wednesday after an American, believed to be working for an oil firm, was shot and killed in the Niger Delta.

The as yet unidentified American was shot at close range Wednesday in the Abuloma area of the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt. The assailant was reportedly riding a motorcycle when he pulled close to the car of the victim and fired.

A senior police official in Port Harcourt said the victim was an employee of an oil company, adding that police were still searching for the assailant.

Following the shooting, British-Dutch oil company Shell, in an internal memorandum, said it was issuing a warning to all its Nigeria employees, in light of continuing tensions in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Militants in the Niger Delta have been attacking oil facilities and taking expatriate oil workers hostage since the beginning of this year, in an effort to press home community demands for more control and profit sharing in the region's oil industry.

The militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which kidnapped 10 foreign oil workers earlier this year but later released them, said it was not involved in Wednesday's killing.

'We did not have a hand in the shooting of the American, but we will investigate further,' Jomo Gbomo, spokesman of MEND, told Deutsche Press-Agentur dpa.

Nigeria's delta region is home to more than 90 per cent of the west African country's oil wealth, but its population has long complained of abject poverty and neglect by the federal government.

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