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Ten Nigeria militants die trying to free hostage

Posted by By Segun Owen on 2006/08/22 | Views: 588 |

Ten Nigeria militants die trying to free hostage


YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Up to 10 militants who were trying to free a hostage in Nigeria were killed in a shootout with troops when they ran into a military convoy in the oil-producing Niger Delta, authorities said on Monday.

Ten Nigeria militants die trying to free hostage
Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:11 PM BST





YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Up to 10 militants who were trying to free a hostage in Nigeria were killed in a shootout with troops when they ran into a military convoy in the oil-producing Niger Delta, authorities said on Monday.

The gunfight broke out on Sunday night when the militants, having taken possession of the hostage employed by Royal Dutch Shell, ran into a heavily armed convoy escorting supplies to an oilfield in the Brass Creek area of Bayelsa state.

In conflicting accounts of what happened, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said their boat carrying the hostage was ambushed, while the military said their convoy was attacked.

It was not clear whether the hostage, a Nigerian community development worker, survived the fighting.

"We lost 10 of the 14 fighters in this attack," MEND said in its email.

State government officials frequently seek the help of militants to secure the release of hostages, and usually tip off security forces of any such operation to ensure they are not attacked.

A military source said three soldiers were also injured in the firefight and estimated the number of militant deaths at four.

"They attacked a convoy being escorted by the Joint Task Force," the source said, adding that the militants' boat was captured.

The Shell worker was in one of the militants' boats when the clash occurred, and MEND said it did not know whether he was killed or not.

The hostage was abducted during a routine visit to the village of Letugbene, in the presence of Bayelsa state government officials, on August 8. Industry sources said the state government had been leading negotiations to secure his freedom.

MEND is a new coalition of militant groups which sprung up at the end of last year and staged a series of kidnappings and attacks on the world's eighth largest oil exporter, forcing Shell to reduce the country's output by about a quarter since February.

MEND, which failed to follow through on more recent threats to widen their attacks, demands local control over the Niger Delta's huge oil resources.

A more recent wave of kidnappings have been staged by a variety of different groups, with demands ranging from political issues to ransom and community development projects from oil companies.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.