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Shell comes under attack in the Niger Delta

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Section: International News Geography: Africa Nigeria, Niger Delta Topics: oil, corporate

February 20, 2006

Shell comes under attack in the Niger Delta

Tensions are high in the Niger Delta, where a group calling itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is escalating its attacks on the oil multinational Royal Dutch Shell.

According to Amnesty International, Niger Delta communities see little of Nigeria's oil revenues, while frequent oil spills and gas flares have wreaked havoc on the local environment, culture and economy. Although government infrastructure, in the form of schools, health facilities and clean water, is almost non-existent in the Niger Delta region, the government does have a strong armed security presence, says
Amnesty.

On Feb. 17, Nigerian military helicopters attacked what the government says were barges used for smuggling oil, reports Alternet. Several people were injured and six are missing and feared dead after the attack.

MEND accused Royal Dutch Shell of providing its airstrip as the staging post for the helicopter attacks. The following day, nine foreign oil workers were kidnapped.

MEND has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings and, according to African Dimension News, has given multinational oil firms seven days to vacate their offices in the country.

Hillary Bain Lindsay

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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