Photographer: Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria Army Says Boko Haram Attack on Oil Workers Killed 10

Suspected Boko Haram militants ambushed an exploration team working for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., killing 10 people, the Nigerian army said.

The dead include one civilian and the rest of those killed were soldiers escorting the oil company employees, army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement Wednesday. The attack happened at about 3 p.m. on Tuesday at Barno Yasu in Borno State. All the contractors of the state oil company, also known as NNPC, were rescued, he said.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is trying to expand oil exploration in areas outside the restive Niger River delta in the south where militant attacks on oil pipelines cut the nation’s output to a 30-year low last year. NNPC, working with Schlumberger Ltd., said it expects to start drilling soon in the Lake Chad basin, a key area of operations in Boko Haram’s fight to establish its version of Islamic rule in Nigeria.

The geological surveyors from the University of Maiduguri in the country’s northeastern Borno state were in a convoy of 11 vehicles with security escorts on their way to the Lake Chad area when they were attacked, Ndu Ughamadu, Abuja-based spokesman of the state-owned oil company, said earlier by phone.

— With assistance by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo, and Michael Olukayode

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