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Words in the News
Friday 21 March 2003
Violence in Nigerian Oil Region
Nigeria oil The Chevron Texaco oil company in Nigeria is using aircraft to evacuate hundreds of villagers from areas affected by unrest in the country's oil-producing southern delta region. This report from Dan Isaacs:
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The rivers and creeks south of Warri are now a no-go area. The navy has imposed a twenty-four hour ban on movement and over one thousand soldiers have been sent in.

Both Shell and Chevron, the two main oil companies operating in the area, have closed down some of their oil production facilities and estimate they are losing over one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand barrels per day as a result of the unrest. That's about eight percent of Nigeria's total output.

Refugees from the crisis are arriving in the town of Warri with harrowing stories of the violence. One woman evacuated by Chevron told me that youths from the opposing Ijaw community had attacked her Itsekiri village and shot and killed her son.

By way of an explanation of their actions, a militant Ijaw leader told me in Warri that the Itsekiri had far more political power than the size their population merited, and that protests both against the Itsekiri and the oil companies would continue until the government addressed this issue, which is extremely unlikely ahead of next month's elections.

It's difficult to see how an effective poll can take place in this part of the southern delta under the present circumstances. Even if the unrest subsides, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have been displaced; and election officials will be extremely wary about operating in such an unstable region.

Dan Isaacs, BBC News, in the Delta Region of Southern Nigeria

Listen Listen to the words
small rivers or streams
a no-go area
an area which is controlled by a group of people who use force to prevent another group from entering it
introduced; if you impose something on someone, you force them to accept it
here, a measurement, one barrel contains 42 US gallons (159 litres) of crude oil
very disturbing, very upsetting
someone who is militant is very active in trying to bring about political change
an area of flat land where a river spreads out into several smaller rivers before entering the sea
forced to leave the area where they live
extremely wary
very cautious
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