several people feared dead in Niger Delta violence

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A Nigerian Navy soldier was killed, another wounded and several militants were feared dead following a clash between soldiers and suspected militants along the Bonny River in the oil producing Niger Delta region early Monday, Police said. The incident happened as navy personnel were escorting a vessel owned by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) from the Rivers’ capital, Port Harcourt, to Bonny Island, Rivers Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu told journalists. He said the suspected militants suddenly appeared from the creeks in four speed boats, triggering an exchange of gunfire. ”In the process. one naval rating died, one was injured while some militants were killed. But we could not get their body count as they went away into the creeks with their dead,” he said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a series of clashes between the soldiers posted to the oil region to protect oil personnel and facilities and suspected militants. The region’s largest militant group – Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) – has vowed to halt Nigeria’s oil export unless one of its leaders, who was arrested and detain on gun running charges in Angola last year, is set free. The armed campaign started by MEND has already forced a reduction in oil production in Africa;s largest oil producing nation.

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