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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Youths attack Nigeria oil plant
By Anna Borzello
BBC News, Lagos

Shell flow station in Nigeria
A blockade last week targeted a Shell facility in Delta state
Armed youths in the remote Nigerian oil-producing state of Bayelsa have attacked an oil facility operated by Agip, an Italian-owned company.

A police spokesman said five attackers were shot dead by security guards, and their boats and weapons confiscated.

Agip was not available for comment, and local media said it had withdrawn foreign staff from the area.

This is the second recent attempt at disrupting oil production in the area, where poverty and violence are endemic.

Disgruntled youth

Details are only now emerging of the attack, which took place over the weekend in remote mangrove swamps.

Police spokesman Andrew Oberodudu confirmed reports that the youths had attacked Agip's Tebidada flow station.

Agip had advance warning of the raid and deployed extra security forces in the area.

It is still not clear what lay behind the attack.

However, in the neglected Niger delta region, disgruntled youths who feel they have not benefited from Nigeria's vast oil wealth often kidnap expatriate oil workers or occupy rigs and flow stations in an attempt to extract money from oil companies.

Shell blockade

Last week, villagers from neighbouring Delta state blockaded an oil facility operated by the Anglo-Dutch company, Shell.

The villagers claim that Shell had reneged on a promise to build them a road under its community development programme.

The blockade, which stopped production, lasted four days until the army moved in and dispersed protestors.

Brigadier Elisa Samani, who is in charge of military operations in the area, told the BBC villagers will meet Shell this week to try and resolve their differences.

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