Gunmen attack Nigerian oil facility

Gunmen mounted on speedboats stormed a riverside oil facility in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt on Tuesday and opened fire on the police, killing several of them, a witness said.

Local resident Damka Pueba told Agence France-Presse she heard gunfire from a

site known as the Agip Industrial Area, and saw workers fleeing from the complex of offices, workshops and jetties run by the Italian energy giant.

“One of the staff came out, she was crying. She said some boys came in speedboats and got into the company and just started shooting,” Pueba said, adding that the witness saw dead policemen being loaded onto a jeep.

“Everybody coming out said seven policemen had been killed. One of my neighbours is married to a policemen who was killed,” she added, speaking by telephone from the scene.

Port Harcourt’s police chief, Commissioner Samuel Adetuyi, confirmed that there had been an incident, but gave no details.

“I’m still monitoring the situation,” was all he would say.

An oil industry security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that reports indicated that seven policemen and two civilian workers, including an expatriate, had been killed.

Pueba, an development agency worker who lives near the Agip site, said she had been told by witnesses that several police officers and at least one plant worker had been shot dead by youths wearing camouflage fatigues and berets.

The gang killed a company accountant and escaped with two large sacks on money on the speedboats in which they had come, she added, citing witnesses.

While the attack may have been a robbery, it came shortly after separatist rebels threatened to attack oil firms in revenge for the arrest of two ethnic Ijaw leaders and will further deepen the crisis in Nigeria’s oil industry. - Sapa-AFP

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