World Bulletin/News Desk
French oil major Total has moved its staff from the Nigerian capital Abuja following the kidnapping of a French national last month, Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said on Friday.
This is the first time in recent history that a company has said it has evacuated foreigners from Nigeria's capital due to security concerns. Western diplomatic sources told Reuters earlier this week that embassies were not planning to remove families of their staff from Abuja.
"What we do first is to limit the number of expatriates, not because they have more rights to be protected than the others, but because they are a more interesting target, if I may say," de Margerie told France 24 television.
He did not elaborate on the number of staff moved.
"In Nigeria, we have three installations ... We moved our people from Abuja, which is the city that is most at risk, to Lagos and Port-Harcourt, and if necessary, we move them back to Paris," he told the TV channel on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
De Margerie said Total had also moved some of its personnel out of Algeria.
Last week's siege at an Algerian gas plant by militants, which ended with heavy loss of life among foreign hostages, also prompted the French oil major to take extra measures to protect its staff in the northern African country.
"In Algeria, those who were in the desert, we brought them back to Algiers, and those who had no need to stay in Algiers, (they were) repatriated to France," he said.
"But at the same time, we carry on, we must not stop (production), we're continuing at the same pace, but with a lower headcount," he added.Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2013, 16:59