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Militants attack oil platform in Nigeria

Militants attack oil platform in Nigeria

Nigerian militants damaged and partly shut down an offshore oil platform belonging to Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Monday _ five days after the government offered a general amnesty to the country's militant groups.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed that its attack also sank a military gunboat carrying at least 20 soldiers and resulting in unspecified casualties. But police denied that.
Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo confirmed the attack on the oil platform in Nigeria's restive southern oil region and said that production had been partially shut down.
Past militant attacks on oil infrastructure in the area have trimmed output in Africa's biggest oil producer by about 25 percent.
Last week, the Nigerian government announced a 60-day amnesty for militants willing to turn themselves in. But the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta dismissed the offer, saying an amnesty should be aimed at criminals, not "freedom fighters" and stressing its own members would not negotiate now.
In its e-mail statement to reporters, the movement urged "thugs, armed robbers, kidnappers, pirates, etc." to surrender and take advantage of rehabilitation benefits. The group sarcastically added that the amnesty seekers should take a picture of themselves shaking hands with the head of police and place the framed picture on their car dashboards in order to avoid future harassment by security forces.
Militant groups began operating in the country's oil-rich south decades ago to protest the billions of dollars in oil revenue being siphoned off by multinational oil companies. Militant groups claim to be fighting for a larger share of the region's oil wealth, but some of them also have resorted to extortion and thuggery.
"Only those who are willing to sell their birthright for a bowl of porridge will accept" the amnesty, said the e-mail statement, "while the rest of us will continue the struggle until justice is achieved."


Updated : 2020-11-30 23:11 GMT+08:00