by Wordworks2001
Another Royal Dutch Shell facility has been attacked in the Niger Delta this morning. The facility is actually a camp for the oil company’s national workers located near its Nun River Pump Station. Approximately 12,000 barrels of crude flow through this station on a normal day.

The attack began during the early morning darkness. At least 14 gunmen, believed to be from a local village, mounted the fierce attack, wounding at least one Nigerian Navy personnel. The group then took an unknown number of workers and soldiers and sailors who were providing security to the facility hostage. They are said to be continuing to occupy the Shell camp at this time (noon, local).

According to my source, motivation for the attack appears to be the deaths of two local youths during an earlier attack on an oil company facility. Although it has not been officially confirmed, the hostages are all said to be Nigerian citizens.

Retaliation attack by local militant youths is not an unusual occurence. Often oil companies come under attack and have their employees abducted for ransom, to pay for some grievance the community has against the company. Since the inception of the Movement for the Emanciption of the Niger Delta last January, even local youth gangs have become better armed and more tactically proficient.
The Nigerian government is said to be planning a counter attack to free the hostages and take back the facility.

UPDATE #1

As of 1:30 pm local time, negotiations between members of the Nigerian Army and the militant community youth holding hostages at the Shell camp near the Nun River pump station, were ongoing.

“This is a community problem. The community says Shell owes it 120-million naira (approx. US$ 937,000),” a military source said.

Originally, around 40 workers and Nigerian military members were being held by local youth, but a number of hostages have since been released. Several soldiers and Shell workers continue to be held

Conflicts between communities and oil companies are common in Nigeria, the world’s eighth largest oil exporter, and are normally resolved after a few days through negotiations involving the government.

Invasions are just one of a variety of security issues facing Western oil companies in the Niger Delta, where most people live in poverty despite the huge oil wealth being pumped from their ancestral land.

LINKS

REUTERS

INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE

Wordworks2001 is a retired US Army master sergeant who lives in Indiana and works in Nigeria. He blogs at http://wordworks2001.blogspot.com

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