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The University of Maiduguri will continue to do research activities for potential oil exploration in the Chad Basin despite last week’s attack by Boko Haram terrorists who kidnapped an oil research team consisting of university geologists and workers contracted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
During a meeting with NNPC officials and officials from the oil ministry, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, said that the university could not “chicken out” from its duties when the NNPC returns to explore for oil in the Chad Basin, Nigerian media report.
Last Wednesday, an NNPC official said that gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist group had abducted on Tuesday at least 10 people who were on an oil exploration mission in the Islamist group’s stronghold state of Borno. The Nigerian oil firm had hired the team to carry out research on the oil exploration activities in the Lake Chad basin in which Nigeria resumed exploration earlier this year.
Nigeria’s government announced last Thursday that it was suspending crude oil exploration activities in the Chad Basin in Borno state following the kidnappings, according to Nigeria’s Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu.
The Nigerian Army said in a press statement on Wednesday that all the NNPC staff had been rescued, but the corpses of 9 soldiers and a civilian were recovered during the rescue mission.
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But on Sunday, the Army released another update in which it apologized for stating previously that all staff had been rescued. “So far the search and rescue team has recovered additional bodies of 5 soldiers, 11 Civilian JTF and 5 members of the exploration team. Contrary to reports in some media, 6 members of exploration team out of 12 that went out are still missing, while one of the NNPC staff returned to base alive,” the Army said.
According to hospital and military officials who spoke to Bloomberg, the ambush had killed at least 48 people, including 18 soldiers, 15 local vigilantes, five geologists from the University of Maiduguri, four drivers working for NNPC, and six other people.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.