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Nearly half the Nigerian plaintiffs in the decade-long case against Chevron Corp. have been dismissed from the suit by their own lawyers for what is described only as “potential conflict of interest.” The suit by a group of Nigerian villagers and a second group that lead a protest and occupation of a company oil rig sought to hold Chevron responsible for military attacks that killed and wounded protesters at a company oil facility in 1998 and 1999. The case seeks to hold a multinational corporation liable for alleged aid to a foreign government in international human rights violations. The remaining plaintiffs claim they were subject to torture or shot during a protest and occupation of a Chevron oil platform in Nigeria. The voluntary dismissal March 10 comes just six months after U.S. District Judge Susan Illston narrowed the suit against Chevron but allowed it to proceed to a jury trial, which was set for later this year. The latest development would leave only the occupation of the Parabe platform and alleged events around the rescue of Chevron employees at issue, according to Kent Robertson, Chevron spokesman in San Ramon, Calif. “Chevron remains confident that the events around the Parabe incident will be shown for what they were � a violent occupation of private property by aggressors seeking to extort cash payments from the company,” Robertson said. Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not return a call requesting comment.

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