5 die in Cameroon boat attack

2010-11-17 15:48

Lagos - Five people were killed in an attack in Cameroon on a boat carrying guards for an offshore oil field operated by French firm Perenco SA, the company said on Wednesday.

The attack late on Tuesday night came as the vessel operated at an oil field abutting Nigerian territorial waters, possibly signaling that militants waging attacks in recent days from that country's oil-rich Niger Delta may have targeted the crew. However, no militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault.

The attack killed three Cameroonian soldiers and two private Cameroonian security contractors as they motored through Perenco's Moudi oil field, the company said.

"Perenco is currently lending all the support it can to the Cameroon authorities at this sad time and will provide further information as and when appropriate," the company said in the statement.

The oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is increasingly becoming a target for pirate attacks, mainly from Nigeria and Cameroon. Areas around Cameroon's nearby Bakassi Peninsula, where militia have been fighting with government troops since Nigeria ceded the land to Cameroon in 2006, remain prone to piracy and attacks.

Meanwhile, militants from Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta have launched a series of new attacks in recent days, raiding two offshore oil fields in recent days and kidnapping at least 14 workers - seven of whom are expatriates. The main militant group in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, has claimed responsibility for those attacks and promised more in the region in the days to come.

The Moudi field and others operated by Perenco in partnership with Exxon Mobil Corp, Kosmos Energy and Cameroon's state-run oil company produce about 8 000 barrels of oil a day.