100 armed gunmen in 8 boats seized a Chevron oil platform in the southern Niger Delta. They claim the action is over the arrest of militia leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari on treason charges.
"Eight boats, each carrying 15 armed people, occupied the Idama flow station. Six government security forces had their weapons taken from them," a source close to Chevron said. "Apparently the militants are now heading for more stations. The situation can only get worse."
Militants loyal to Mujahid Dokubo-Asari burned tyres in the streets of the delta's largest city, Port Harcourt. Police fired shots in the air to disperse them.
Mr Asari's Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) threatened on Tuesday to cause mayhem and close oil facilities in the delta, which pumps all of Nigeria's 2.4 million barrels per day, unless their leader was released.
Mr Asari campaigns for self-determination by his Ijaw tribe, the largest in the delta, and argues that the colonial treaties that created the union with Nigeria were fraudulent.
The government has called him an oil thief and gangster.
The NDPVF had demanded his release by noon on Wednesday, but the Abuja high court yesterday granted a request by the justice minister to detain him for two weeks to prepare charges of treason, carrying the death penalty.
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