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Hostage taking saga: Militants threaten to cut Nigeria’s oil export by half

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2006/03/07 | Views: 835 |

Hostage taking saga: Militants threaten to cut Nigeria’s oil export by half


Niger Delta militants threatened Sunday, to cut, by half, the country's oil outpu and export by cutting another one million barrels a day this month in their campaign to gain more autonomy for the Niger Delta region.

Niger Delta militants threatened Sunday, to cut, by half, the country's oil outpu and export by cutting another one million barrels a day this month in their campaign to gain more autonomy for the Niger Delta region.

The threat came as unidentified youths, suspected to be militants, damaged a Shell oil facility in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State at the weekend, resulting in massive oil spillage in the area.

The militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) are still holding two United States and Briton as hostages. Their attacks last month reduced output from Nigeria, world's eighth largest exporter, by 455,000 barrels a day, or one fifth.

This development lowered output to two million barrels a day before the latest threat by the militants, who want more local control of the nation's oil resources.

"God willing, we hope to reduce Nigeria's export by a further one million barrels for the month of March," the militants said in an email to a foreign news agency, adding: "There will be inland operations in March as well as standard creek attacks."

The militants have, however restated their demands, which the Minister of Information and National Orentation, Mr Frank Nweke, said were being studied. The demands include the release of Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, a militant leader and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamaiyeseigha, both standing trial for treason and fraudulent enrichment respectively; compensation for oil pollution to Niger Delta villages and more autonomy over the region's oil income.

The Niger Delta militants had Wednesday, March 1, 2006, released six out of the nine hostages in their custody on medical grounds. Among those who regained freedom was Maxon Hawkins, an American oil worker, who turned 69 last week. He was released on his 69 birthday.
Also released were two Egyptians, Bardese Mohammed and Aly Shady, two Thai citizens, Muado Somsak and Arak Suwana and a Filipino, Tony Santos.

The freed hostages were handed over to soldiers after the militants took journalists on tour of their stronghold.
Meanwhile, two Americans and a Briton are still being held by the militants, but the Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, said they would be released soon.

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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