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N’Delta: Military deploys more troops against militants at oil plant

Posted by LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2007/06/25 | Views: 366 |

N’Delta: Military deploys more troops against militants at oil plant


The Nigerian Army has sent more troops to drive militants from an oil plant they have occupied in Bayelsa State since they abducted 27 people there at the weekend.

The Nigerian Army has sent more troops to drive militants from an oil plant they have occupied in Bayelsa State since they abducted 27 people there at the weekend.

"Following the reverses we have suffered in our attempt to secure the platform with minimum force, we decided to increase the number of our troops and the grade of armament, so as to save a very bad situation," a military officer told AFP on Tuesday, on condition of anonymity.

Suspected rebels attacked a flow station operated by Agip, a subsidiary of Italian oil company, Eni, in the southern Bayelsa State on Sunday in what military sources said was a reprisal for last week's killing of nine militants by soldiers.

Eni said that 16 of its Nigerian employees and 11 soldiers guarding the facility had been seized in the attack while another eight employees and 40 soldiers escaped.

An industry source, meanwhile, said on Tuesday, he doubted the soldiers would be able to dislodge the militants from the facility. "It won’t be an easy task to dislodge the boys. What they do is that they mine the platform as soon as they take it over, and they challenge the soldiers to dare (to) fire a shot. If a shot is fired, the entire area will go up in flames," the source said.

Kidnappings and armed attacks have intensified in the Niger Delta region, where some 200 foreigners and scores of Nigerians have been abducted since the start of 2006. These kidnappings, coupled with acts of vandalism and sabotage, have cost Nigeria an annual revenue loss of 4.4 billion dollars.

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