Gunmen ambushed an Indian-owned oil barge on Tuesday as it was being escorted by the military through Delta state, killing two soldiers and one crew member on the ship, a security forces spokesman said.
The ship belonging to Sterling Global Oil Resources, part of the Sandesara Group conglomerate, was fired on in the Angiama area of the Delta, according to Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesman for Joint Task Force in the region.
He added that the gunmen were repelled by return fire.
“Our troops were escorting the Sterling Global Oil barge when they ran into an ambush. Two soldiers and one civilian were killed and three civilians on the boat were wounded,” he said.
“Troops have been deployed to the area because some of the gunmen fled wounded.”
There was no immediate comment from Sterling.
The oil region has in the past been plagued by similar attacks and kidnap of officials of oil companies working in the region prior to the amnesty declared by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The Amnesty Programme formally ended the militants conflict, but it is believed that some criminal networks continue to operate in the volatile region.
Some suspected pirates also hijacked a French-owned Luxembourg-flagged tanker along with its 17-member crew off Cote d’Ivoire, Ivorian officials and the International Maritime Bureau said on Monday.