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Militants Capture Oil Vessel

Posted by By Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt, With Agency Report on 2009/01/07 | Views: 403 |

Militants Capture Oil Vessel


Unknown gunmen hijacked a vessel belonging to French oil services group, Bourbon, off Nigeria’s Niger Delta coasts, yesterday, as it traveled toward a Royal Dutch Shell offshore oilfield, security sources said.

Unknown gunmen hijacked a vessel belonging to French oil services group, Bourbon, off Nigeria’s Niger Delta coasts, yesterday, as it traveled toward a Royal Dutch Shell offshore oilfield, security sources said.

The vessel was carrying four expatriates from Cameroon, Ghana and Lebanon, when it was attacked near the Bonny Fairway buoy, a major shipping route for the Nigerian oil services industry, one of the sources said.

“It was hijacked by gunmen in about five speedboats. The vessel lost contact with the control room around the Okwori oilfield area, near Bonny,” the source, a private security contractor working in the oil industry, said.

A second security contractor confirmed the vessel had been travelling to Shell’s Bonga offshore field when it was seized. Bourbon officials could not immediately be reached for comment, and no group has claimed responsibility.

Piracy and kidnapping is common in the Niger Delta, a vast network of mangrove creeks opening into the Gulf of Guinea, and home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.

Militants, who say they are fighting for a fairer share of the region’s natural wealth, have blown up pipelines and kidnapped oil workers in a campaign of attacks since early 2006, shutting down around a fifth of Nigeria’s oil output.

Criminal networks have taken advantage of the insecurity, carrying out kidnappings and hijackings for ransom. Hundreds of foreigners have been seized over the past three years, but most have been released unharmed after a financial settlement.

It was difficult confirming the reported attack from the the Joint Task Force at press time, as Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa, its spokesman, was not reachable. Meanwhile, 200,000 barrels of oil were grounded at the weekend, as militants attacked a pipeline at Okuntun village, in Delta State.

This occurred even as the Joint Task Force (JTF) arrested six of the nine militants who recently hit Agip flow station at Tebidaba, in Bayelsa state, in which three of them were killed.

Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC) co-ordinator, Col. Rabe Abubakar, said the JTF is keeping a 24-hour surveillance on the facility at Okuntun, pledging that those who carried out the attack will be brought to book. Repair work has begun on the pipeline, which was repaired only last month.

Abubakar gave the names of those arrested over the incident at Tebidaba, as Ayebanua Young, 40; Zilaefa Adobu, 20; Imotonghen Inana, 39; Marro Olugbo; Parker Steven and Ebi Apolos.

Items recovered from them include one GPMG, two AK 47 rifles, one locally made single-barrel gun, three AK 47 empty magazines, and four rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

On the Okuntun incident, Abubakar quoted JTF commander, Brigadier-General NW Rimtip, as saying that it was the first confrontation in the community.

“We were to employ our professional prowess in managing the crisis without inflicting unnecessary harm or injuries on our brothers, even though the militants, in their own ways, kept on launching unprovoked attacks on the security outfit, thinking the JTF would lose patience and engage them in a full-blown war. “However, such is not in the habit of the force because it is operating based on internal security arrangement which permits minimum force only in self defence in the Niger Delta,’’ Rimtip explained.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown