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Africa
Lebanese oil worker shot in Nigeria
Two Italians are kidnapped in separate incident in oil city of Port Harcourt.
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2007 16:18 GMT
Fighters from the Movement for the Emancipation Delta have kidnapped oil workers [EPA]

A Lebanese engineer has been shot dead and two Italians kidnapped in separate incidents in and around the Nigerian oil city of Port Harcourt.
 
Felix Ogbaudu, the Rivers State police commissioner, said on Friday: "Some gunmen opened fire on a car on the outskirts of Port Harcourt and a Lebanese engineer was killed."
"Two Italians were taken in the riverine area, but that is another location entirely."
 
Kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities are frequent in the Niger Delta, home to Africa's largest oil industry, but killings of foreigners are relatively rare.
The two Italians worked for construction company Impregilo, an Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman in Rome said.
 
Following their kidnapping, the Italian foreign minister recommended that all Italians leave the Niger Delta area.
 
Delta violence
 
Rising violence against foreigners in the world's sixth largest oil exporter has prompted thousands of oil workers to leave the delta and oil exports are down by a fifth.
 
Two foreign workers, a Dutch and a Belgian, were killed in January, an unusually high toll for one month.
 
A US oil executive was shot dead in his car in Port Harcourt last May.
 
The abduction of the Italians means that 10 foreigners are being held by different armed groups in the delta, a vast maze of mangrove-lined creeks and swamps.
 
A Lebanese hostage regained his freedom on Wednesday after spending 11 weeks in captivity.
 
The man's employer, Italian oil giant ENI, said he was released, but the group holding him said he escaped and vowed revenge on the company and state government.
 
That group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), denied any involvement in Friday's killing however.
 
MEND has the highest profile among a number of groups operating in the Niger delta who are seeking to highlight imbalances in the distribution of oil wealth in the region.
 
The incidents come as at least seven people were killed in two days of communal clashes in a villages close to Port Harcourt.
Source:
Agencies
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