Oil giant Shell has begun evacuating the dependents of hundreds of expatriate staff from the Niger Delta after local militants planted a car bomb in a residential compound that damaged cars, although no one was injured.

The pullout involves some 400 foreign family members from Port Harcourt, Warri and Bonny Island. Staff will stay put and oil and gas production will not be affected, Shell says.

“Dependants of expatriate staff are being relocated as a precautionary measure because of the explosion,” said Shell spokesman Bisi Ojediran. The withdrawal began hours after armed militants stormed an oil facility operated by France’s Total in the delta’s Rivers state, killing three people.

So a not so happy Xmas in the Delta…