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Nigeria Assassination Raises Oil Region Tensions

The killing of a major opposition leader in Nigeria on Wednesday has raised fears of growing turbulence in the oil-rich southern Niger Delta area ahead of presidential elections due to take place next month. Marshall Harry, a key Niger Delta politician and opponent of President Olusegun Obansanjo, was shot at close range by unidentified gunmen at his house in the capital Abuja. The killing was the latest in a string of assassinations that have plagued Nigeria since its return to democracy from 15 years of military rule in 1999. Chima Ubani, the head of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organisation, said Harry’s killing was a bad omen for April’s scheduled presidential and local elections. “I believe his killing, if not properly handled, could spark off reprisal violence and other sorts of violence within Rivers State,” he said. Throughout the Niger Delta, indigenous people are demanding a greater share of the oil drilled in the region, which makes Nigeria the world’s seventh largest oil producer and the fifth biggest supplier to the United States. Full Story

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