- Title: NIGERIA: Violence flares in Port Harcourt slums
- Date: 4th August 2008
- Summary: WOMEN CARRYING LUGGAGE / TRYING TO HIDE THEIR FACES
- Embargoed: 19th August 2008 13:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVA45P66SRLF3KIQIKRH58GY8I4G
- Story Text: Residents flee for safety as faction fighting leaves many dead in Nigeria's oil city of Port Harcourt.
A turf war between rival gangs in Nigeria's Niger Delta has spread to the main oil city of Port Harcourt, with sporadic gunbattles in its waterfront slums killing scores of people, witnesses said on Saturday (August 2).
Fighters from one militant faction in the delta arrived in speedboats late on Friday to attack a rival gang and bursts of intense gunfire were reported in the heavily populated shanty neighbourhoods of Bundu, Dockyard and Yam Zone, residents said.
Residents in the Dockyard neighbourhood said the bodies of at least three civilians had been removed by family members for burial. Soldiers in pick-up trucks patrolled on Saturday as many people packed up and left.
"We just hear gun shots everywhere and everybody ran inside the house. And they continue to shoot, shoot, shoot...they killed a lot of people," said one woman.
The violence underscores the worsening security situation in the delta, the hub of Nigeria's 2 million barrel-per-day oil industry, where unrest has shut down around a fifth of output and helped push global energy prices to record highs.
A private security source working in the oil industry said the clashes were a continuation of fighting which broke out late on Tuesday between two rival militant factions at Abonnema, around 14 km (9 miles) west of Port Harcourt.
Port Harcourt is the biggest city in the Niger Delta and oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell have offices there. It is also home to two of Nigeria's four oil refineries.
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