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Bloomberg: Nigerian Militants Plan Wider Attacks on Expatriates (Update1)

By Julie Ziegler

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Nigerian militants plan to widen attacks beyond the oil-rich Niger delta region and may target foreigners in other areas, according to the U.S. consulate in Lagos.

“Possible targets could include expatriate personnel, Western businesses or facilities and locales visited by tourists and foreigners in other regions of Nigeria,” the consulate said in an e-mailed statement today. “Attacks and kidnappings may become more violent than in recent months.”

More than 200 people, about half of them expatriates, have been kidnapped in Nigeria’s oil-producing region in the past year. Militant groups as well as criminals kidnapping for ransom were behind earlier abductions. Attacks have become more brazen, including taking hostages from nightclubs and cars in the city of Port Harcourt.

The U.S. mission in Nigeria updated its travel policy and now requires all personnel traveling on business to the Niger delta to receive approval from the ambassador, the statement said.

Jomo Gbomo, spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, said the statement may have been aimed at his group.

“Guess we can’t seem to hold on to our secrets long enough,” Gbomo said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. MEND has “a number of things lined up,” he said, adding that the U.S. statement might also be referring to another group.

Impact on Shell

MEND’s attacks have forced Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Nigeria unit to halt output of about 500,000 barrels a day, almost a quarter of the country’s current production. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer.

The rebel group wants the government to cede control of the oil industry to the Niger delta states where crude is pumped. It has also demanded the release of Mujahid Dokubu Asari, a militia leader jailed on treason charges, and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa state who was impeached and arrested on money-laundering charges.

Communities in the Niger delta, a maze of creeks and rivers feeding into one of the world’s biggest remaining areas of mangroves, are among Nigeria’s poorest, a report funded by Royal Dutch Shell Plc said in 2004. Unemployment surpasses 90 percent in some areas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Ziegler in Lagos [email protected]
Last Updated: February 16, 2007 10:04 EST

Leaked copy of the 2004 Shell Internal confidential Report

http://www.shellnews.net/2004%20Documents/peaceandsecurity/peaceandsecurityinthenigerdeltawebpage.htm

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1 Comment on “Bloomberg: Nigerian Militants Plan Wider Attacks on Expatriates (Update1)”

  1. #1 barrister segun ojemuyiwa
    on Feb 17th, 2007 at 05:17

    the nigerdelta situation sums up the quality of leadership in nigeria.oil companies has duly paid taxes to govt and it s incumbent on govt to use the funds to better the lot of the indigenes dislocated from their natural habital.since govt seems not to have been unable to ensure d nigerdeltans ,with the exception of a few rent collectors and political jobbers can sleep well ,the indigene hav rightly or wrongly decided the rich in d niger delta wil not taste sleep.it appears a fair deal . so any one who has cause to b in d region should factor the ransom money into his contract jus like pr money are factored into contract prices.it was because i had no such provision that i wisely stayed away from the last nigeria bar conference in port harcout should the indigenes decides to include southern nigerians within their catchment areas

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