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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Nigerian Delta Guerrilas Attack Port Harcourt

Tue 1 Jan 2008, 14:21 GMT

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Suspected militants attacked two police stations, a luxury hotel and a night club in Nigeria's oil city Port Harcourt on Tuesday leaving 18 people dead, police said.

The New Year's Day assault came after troops bombed suspected rebel hideouts near the city last weekend and after the collapse of peace talks between militants and the government of Africa's top oil producer.

"The gunmen came into town from different directions and attacked several places," said Ireju Barasua, a police spokeswoman in Port Harcourt.

Barasua said four police officers were killed at two police stations in the riverside metropolis in the south of Nigeria.

Seven civilians also died in the cross-fire outside the Borokiri police station, and a security guard was killed at the Presidential Hotel when gunmen opened fire on the lobby, Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu was quoted as saying by the state news agency.

Several other civilians were wounded by stray bullets near the hotel as they returned from midnight mass, witnesses said. The lobby wall had bullet marks and dozens of empty AK-47 shells were lying on the road outside.

Gunmen also struck the Skippers night club, and police said they killed six of the attackers.
A prominent militia leader in Port Harcourt, Ateke Tom, had been expected to stage a counter-attack in the city after troops bombed his suspected hideouts with helicopter gunships in the creeks around the city last weekend.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

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