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Agence France Presse: Gunmen kill five Nigerian oil workers in restive delta region

08-05-2006, 11h12

Five Nigerian oil workers were killed by unidentified gunmen in the country’s oil-rich but restive Niger Delta region, police and industry sources have said.

The incident occurred on Thursday in the Egbema area of Rivers State in southern Nigeria when the men, working as contractors to Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, were killed during an ambush on their way to work, an oil company executive who requested anonymity told AFP.

He said the motives of the killings were unknown as no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

A senior officer in the Rivers State police command confirmed the incident, but refused to give details.

“Some Nigerians working as contractors to Shell were killed by an unknown gang at Egbema area of the state. We are still investigating,” he said.

The killings followed the abduction of three Filipino oil and gas workers in Port Harcourt on Friday and a German national on Thursday by yet unidentified gangs.

Since January, attacks on oil facilities and staff by separatist militants and communities have risen in the troubled region, home to Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil and gas wealth.

The attacks were launched to press demands for a larger share in oil revenues and compensation for the destruction of the region as a result of oil exploration.

More than 30 expatriate oil workers have been kidnapped in the past seven months but were released after spending several days and sometimes weeks in captivity. 

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