Nigerian soldiers kill 10 pirates in clash

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- A special unit of Nigerian security forces killed 10 suspected sea pirates and lost one member during the latest clash in the oil-rich but volatile Niger Delta region, according to local press reports Sunday.
   A policeman attached to the joint military task force was also injured in the clash, which occurred in Ogodobiri community in the Burutu council area of Delta state.
   "You know, initially we had gone in search of arms, ammunition and those who keep the criminals, but as soon as they sighted our men, they opened fire from their various positions, including the trenches," said Brigadier General Elias Zamani, commander of the task force.
   "It was a tough encounter, but after the whole exercise my boys are now well-stationed in the community," he said.
   Niger Delta's state governor James Ibori ordered the crackdown on the sea pirates last month after suspected sea pirates killed seven oil workers, including two Americans, along the state waterways.
   The special military outfit killed more than 17 of the hoodlums in a similar clash last weekend.
   The activities of the sea pirates and incessant clashes between rival militias have combined to make the oil-producing region a dangerous area for oil workers, who are routinely kidnapped for ransom.
   But observers also said the long neglect of the oil-producing communities by past governments have fuelled the crisis in the area.

13 june 2004 10:30:00

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