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Shell blames militants for spilling 14,000 tons of crude in Nigeria

OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell admitted yesterday that it spilt almost 14,000 tons of crude oil into the Niger delta last year, blaming most of the damage on two attacks by thieves and militants.

Shell said in its annual environmental report that it had recovered almost 10,000 tons of the spillage, which was more than twice the amount the company leaked into the delta in 2008.

It said the bulk of the spill was caused by thieves who damaged a wellhead at its Odidi field and militants who bombed its Trans Escravos pipeline.

The company has suffered a regular onslaught of attacks in recent years from militants in Nigeria who have kidnapped Shell workers and targeted its operations.