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Egyptian worker killed in the Niger Delta

An Egyptian expatriate worker is killed in the Niger Delta as analysts fear an upsurge in violence ahead of Nigeria's 2011 elections.

Ahram Arabic Portal and AFP, Thursday 2 Dec 2010
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An Egyptian working with the oil services company Dresser Rand Group was killed near Southern NIgeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, police said Thursday.

Sources say the Egyptian worker was killed by a stray bullet during an armed attack on a bus transporting several expatriats to Port Harcourt in the state of Abia, the heart of one of the world's largest oil industry operations. Other passengers had their personal luggage stolen.

The Aba-Port Harcourt highway is notorious for robberies and kidnappings of expatriates, mostly oil workers, by criminal gangs seeking ransom money. Most hostages are released after payment of ransom.

Repeated incidences of armed robberies and attacks on industry facilities of the Niger Delta have oil companies in the region spend millions of dollars annually on security.

It is said that the increased crime rate in the Niger Delta may negatively affect the prospects of President Goodluck Jonathan in the next elections, slated to take place in April next year.

Jonathan is the first head of state from the oil-producing region. He was involved in negotiations leading to thousands of rebels laying down their arms and a year without major attacks on oil industries.

However, security experts fear growing unrest prior to and during the upcoming elections.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a statement emailed Wednesday that it would resume attacks on oil industries and added that Jonathan did not help solve the problems of the Niger Delta. 

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