The Guardian reports: Shell has fuelled armed conflict in Nigeria by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to feuding militant groups, according to an investigation by the oil industry watchdog Platform, and a coalition of non-government organisations.
The oil giant is implicated in a decade of human rights abuses in the Niger delta, the study says, claiming that its routine payments exacerbated local violence, in one case leading to the deaths of 60 people and the destruction of an entire town.
Platform’s investigation, which includes testimony from Shell’s own managers, also alleges that government forces hired by Shell perpetrated atrocities against local civilians, including unlawful killings and systematic torture.
Shell disputes the report, defending its human rights record and questioning the accuracy of the evidence, but has pledged to study the recommendations.
In Counting the Cost: Corporations and Human Rights in the Niger Delta [PDF], Platform says that it has seen testimony and contracts that implicate Shell in the regular awarding of lucrative contracts to militants. In one case last year, Shell is said to have transferred more than $159,000 (£102,000) to a group credibly linked to militia violence.