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Shell oil paid Nigerian military to put down protests

In World News on October 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm

By John Vidal

Secret papers reveal that in the 1990s the oil giant routinely worked with the army to suppress resistance to its activities.

Shell has never denied that its oil operations have polluted large areas of the Niger Delta – land and air. But it had resisted charges of complicity in human rights abuses.

Court documents now reveal that in the 1990s Shell routinely worked with Nigeria‘s military and mobile police to suppress resistance to its oil activities, often from activists in Ogoniland, in the delta region.

Confidential memos, faxes, witness statements and other documents, released in 2009, show the company regularly paid the military to stop the peaceful protest movement against the pollution, even helping to plan raids on villages suspected of opposing the company.

According to Ogoni activists, several thousand people were killed in the 1990s and many more fled that wave of terror that took place in the 1990s.

In 2009, in a New York federal court, that evidence never saw light during the trial. Shell had been accused of collaborating with the state in the execution in 1995 of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and other leaders of the Ogoni tribe. Instead, Shell paid $15.5m (£9.6m) to the eight families in settlement.

Among the documents was a 1994 letter from Shell agreeing to pay a unit of the Nigerian army to retrieve a truck, an action that left one Ogoni man dead and two wounded. Shell said it was making the payment “as a show of gratitude and motivation for a sustained favourable disposition in future assignments”.

Brian Anderson, the director of Shell Nigeria during those years, said in 2009, after the New York settlement, the company had…

Full article…

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