Shooting broke out in the Nigerian oil port city of Warri on Wednesday following days of military helicopter and gunboat raids on militant camps in the surrounding creeks, witnesses said.
One local journalist at the scene said there appeared to be a gun battle between navy personnel and local youths near to a naval base in the Miller Waterside area of Warri. Other residents said they could hear gunshots in the port area.
Nigeria last week launched its biggest military offensive for years in the Niger Delta, bombarding militant camps near to Warri from the air and sea before sending in hundreds of ground troops to try to flush rebel fighters out of local communities.
Some firms have evacuated non-essential personnel from the area around Warri in Delta state for fear that militant fighters will launch retaliatory attacks on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, security sources say.
Italy’s biggest oil and gas company Eni SpA on Wednesday declared force majeure on exports from its Brass River terminal in neighbouring Bayelsa state after militant threats to blockade key waterways to try to prevent oil exports.
An industry source said the total oil output affected by the measure was 52,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Royal Dutch Shell said it was also investigating reports of an attack on one of its facilities in the Niger Delta.
But Nigeria’s state oil company NNPC said there been no significant impact on oil production so far, which was running at around 1.6 million barrels per day before the latest unrest.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS