CBC NEWS (CANADA): Soldiers clash with Nigerian protesters at Shell oil rig, injuring 13: “Soldiers clashed with hundreds of protesters who invaded an oil rig run by Royal Dutch/Shell, injuring at least 13 demonstrators, military and company officials said Tuesday.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 24 Nov 04
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Soldiers clashed with hundreds of protesters who invaded an oil rig run by Royal Dutch/Shell, injuring at least 13 demonstrators, military and company officials said Tuesday.
Col. Mohammed Yusuf, a Nigerian military spokesman, said the incident occurred Saturday, when troops were sent to a Shell rig in a remote part of the Niger Delta, after being alerted to a protest by local community activists demanding jobs.
The rig in Benisede, near the Niger Delta city of Warri, is operated by Houston-based Parker Drilling Company on behalf of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos., which produces roughly half of Nigeria's 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.
Nigeria is the world's seventh-largest oil exporter and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.
"The soldiers went there to dislodge them and in the process 13 people were injured," Yusuf said.
Three of those injured were still in hospital, while the rest have been treated and released, Yusuf said.
Although Yusuf would not comment on their injuries, a Shell official speaking on condition of anonymity said soldiers opened fire, wounding several protesters, after some of the demonstrators tried to take the soldiers' weapons.
All of the roughly 200 protesters have now left the rig, while Shell was in talks with officials of Parker Drilling and representatives of the protesting communities to address their demands, the official said.
Oil operations in the restive Niger Delta are frequently disrupted by violence by aggrieved, impoverished communities that feel cheated out of the oil wealth pumped from their land. Nearly all of Nigeria's oil exports come from the delta.
© The Canadian Press, 2004