Gunmen attack two oil facilities in southern Nigeria
February 18, 2009
A private security official said that gunmen attacked two oil facilities operated by Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria''s restive south, reported by the Associated Press. The official said that a local militant leader claimed responsibility for the early morning attack in a letter and threatened further violence. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to company prohibitions on speaking to the media. A Shell spokesman said no one was injured in the incident and that oil production had not been affected. It was "really not an attack," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with company regulations. He declined to give further details. The region''s main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, denied involvement in the attack, even though it had called off a month-long ceasefire almost three weeks ago. Nigeria is Africa''s largest oil producer but three years of militant attacks on the industry have kept the country''s daily crude production at about 25 percent under its estimated capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day. The militants say they are battling to force the federal government to devote more oil-industry funds to the southern region, which remains deeply poor despite its great natural bounty. The government says the militants are organized criminals engaging in the lucrative overseas trade in crude oil by illegally tapping Nigeria''s vast pipeline network.