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Nigeria deploys troops in oil-rich Bayelsa

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Nigeria deployed troops in the southern state of Bayelsa on Tuesday after a court annulled the local election of its governor because of alleged irregularities.

This comes as ongoing instability in the oil-rich region appears to be broadening to the waters around the Niger Delta, with a report this week citing the region as a hot spot for pirate activity. The reported rise of militant activity in recent years has cut the country's petroleum production by about 20 percent. That's helped send oil prices to all-time highs, analysts say.

Judge Saka Ibiyeye quashed the election of Bayelsa Gov. Timipre Sylva of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday, saying that Mr. Sylva failed to produce an authentic results sheet and could not prove an election for governor actually took place. After the court ruling, Reuters reports that soldiers were sent to the capital of Bayelsa state.

Violence flared after elections in 2003 and 2007. This week's revoked election results were the 10th in recent history, reports the BBC.

The deployment also followed reports of militant youths occupying a Royal Dutch Shell oil installation in Bayelsa last week, shutting down its production of 5,000 barrels a day. After the militants ended their occupation of the facility, Voice of America quoted a state government spokesman, who said that the protests were triggered by the company's "inability" to honor the terms of a memorandum of understanding for relations with the local community. Government officials said the raid was not an indication of widespread unrest.

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