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Nigerians, Shell take dispute to court

Shell is to appear before a Dutch court in a landmark damages case. Plaintiffs from Nigeria have sued the oil giant for polluting their land.

The Nigerian farmers who have brought a case against Royal Dutch Shell are scheduled to appear before a court in The Hague on Thursday. If the plaintiffs win, their case could set a precedent in lawsuits against international companies.

Dutch company Shell has said that it was not responsible for the environmental damage. A third party, possible oil thieves, had damaged oil pipes that led to the leak.

Initial reports gave varying amounts of detail about Thursday's court case. While the news agency AP said the plaintiffs were Nigerian farmers, news agency Reuters indicated that only four farmers had brought the suit against Shell, along with the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Neither indicated what compensation the plaintiffs are seeking.

kms/mz (AP, Reuters)