Nigerian attacks claim more lives

LAGOS - Human Rights group Amnesty International says it has received reports suggesting hundreds of people, mainly civilians, may have been killed in a week-old Nigerian military offensive in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

LAGOS - Human Rights group Amnesty International says it has received reports suggesting hundreds of people, mainly civilians, may have been killed in a week-old Nigerian military offensive in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

Nigeria last week launched its biggest military campaign for years in the western delta, bombarding militant camps near the town of Warri from the air and sea before sending in hundreds of troops to try to flush rebel fighters out of local communities.

Amnesty International said the highest death toll was believed to have come when the joint military task force in the delta used helicopter gunships to attack communities around a major militant camp close to Warri last Friday.

The Nigerian army has repeatedly denied using excessive force and has said that no innocent civilians had been killed or displaced.

Minister of State for Petroleum Odein Ajumogobia said on Wednesday the government was doing all it could to minimise the loss of lives.

The military presence has made access to remote communities around Warri virtually impossible. - Reuters

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