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Houstonians in oil industry facing danger overseas

Monday, May 09, 2011

We're learning exclusive details about the threats facing the overseas operations of Houston oil companies. Pipeline attacks and employee kidnappings -- the threats of attacks against Houston oil companies in Nigeria are growing.

We've learned from the man leading the militants that unless Houston oil companies start providing more economic relief, militants will begin terrorizing pipelines and kidnapping oil workers.

Nigerian militants show no mercy when terrorizing Houston oil companies.

"To you this was war. This was your battle?" we asked militant leader Keano.

"Um, I would not take it as war, but it was in defense of our territory," Keano replied.

And one man is responsible for all of it -- the kidnappings, the terrorizing of pipelines, the hundreds of millions of dollars in lost oil.

"What would you say to the U.S. oil companies if you were speaking to them in Houston?" we asked Keano.

"I will tell them that they are the people operating exploitation here," he replied.

Keano is the leader of more than 25,000 militants in the Niger Delta region. They live in the brush, raid pipelines and kidnap dozens of American and British oil workers.

"In our struggle, a man whose underground fears no fall. We're underground already," a militant named Abujo said.

Abujo is one of those in this fight.

"You have weapons and military and arsenal. That surprises most I think?" we asked Abujo.

"Yes, the kind of armory that is still left to be given up is 10 times more than what you think," he said.

Among those who have been kidnapped are more than a dozen Houstonians, including Malcolm Hawkins.

"Oh God, it was an experience. I don't want to do again, but I just had to make the best of it," Hawkins said.

Several years ago, Hawkins was held for several weeks.

"The reason why we're fighting is to make sure this injustice is addressed," Abujo said.

There are thousands of miles of pipeline that extend throughout this Niger Delta region. And part of the problem, it goes right in front of the homes of thousands of people.

"Do you have a job?" we asked one woman.

"I don't have a job and I'm a graduate," she replied.

Women also represent part of the argument here. They're living in a home with a pipeline to dodge as they enter their front door, and they say they're not receiving any money.

"We are not benefiting anything from it, from this oil pipeline, from the oil companies. We are not getting anything. There is pollution everywhere," the woman with whom we spoke added.

Their streets are unpaved, and sewage seeps in from because of pipelines built under their house. And unless conditions improve, the anger here will only increase and the threats toward Houston oil companies will only turn deadly.

"The next place is six feet beneath the ground," Abujo said.

"And you're willing to do that?" we asked him

"Yes. We're willing to do that at a snap. We don't have much time."

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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