Nigerian army denies militants killed 13 soldiers

Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Nigerian Army Thursday officially confirmed the clash between soldiers and militants in the oil- producing Niger Delta region Wednesday, but denied the militants claim that they killed 13 soldiers.
Army spokesman, Col.
Mohammed Yusuf, said in Abuja however that some soldiers were wounded in the attack.
"There was a militant attack around Koko area by the militants in their quest to hijack some oil tanker going to berth in Warri," Yusuf said.
"We have no information any soldier was killed but we know about two or three soldiers were wounded," he said, adding that the soldiers killed some of the militants.
Militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) reported the clash in an e-mail to PANA Wednesday night, claiming they killed 13 soldiers and lost none of their fighters.
"Our intelligence reports indicate a large number of wounded many of whom have been lifted to hospitals in Warri (Delta state) by Shell," said the militants, whose attacks on oil platforms in the region have cut Nigeria's daily production of 2.
5 million barrels by 20 per cent.
The Army spokesman said the militants could claim all sorts of things, "but the truth is that about two or three of our soldiers were wounded.
Our soldiers killed some of the militants, about three or four of them.
They always attack and run away".
He said the situation in the area had returned to normal.
There are fears the clash may delay ongoing negotiations for the release of the three hostages from the US and Britain still be held by the militants.
Last week, the militants released six of the nine hostages they kidnapped in February as part of the campaign for a larger slice of the Niger Delta oil resources.

09 march 2006 18:02:00




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