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Rival factions clash in Nigeria oil region; 4 dead

PORT HARCOURT (Reuters) – Rival militant factions in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta have clashed in an apparent turf war, killing at least four people, security officials said on Wednesday.

The fighting started late on Tuesday at Abonnema, around 14 km (9 miles) west of the main oil industry city of Port Harcourt, military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa said.

“We deployed our men to the area. Unfortunately our men were ambushed by the militants and there was heavy exchange of gunfire … We lost one soldier and killed two militants in the ensuing battle,” he said.

“My understanding is that it is a battle for territorial control and sea routes where they (the militants) can control the movement of ships and collect money,” Musa said.

One civilian was killed by a stray bullet and another wounded during the fighting, according to Rita Inoma-Abbey, a spokeswoman for the police in Rivers state, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.

The fighting underscores the deteriorating security situation in the delta, the hub of Nigeria’s 2 million barrels per day oil industry. The unrest has shut down around a fifth of output and helped push global energy prices to record highs.


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