Nigeria

Nigerian rebels threaten French energy giant Total

A Shell facility in the Niger Delta
A Shell facility in the Niger Delta AFP

Nigerian rebels have threatened to attack French energy giant Total, after detonating two car bombs outside a government building in Warri. The attacks are seen as the result of growing dissatisfaction about the government’s slow progress towards improved conditions in the Niger Delta. 

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The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) warned it may continue its attacks on the oil industry, threatening firms such as Total, the French energy giant, after its members detonated two car bombs outside a government building in the southern city of Warri on Monday.

The explosions came as talks were being held at the Delta State Governor's compound about the government's amnesty programme. According to witnesses, six passers-by were wounded.

The attack is a setback for Acting President Goodluck Jonathan who has made peace in the Niger Delta a priority, says west Africa Anthony Goldman.

“It sends out a fairly clear signal that Mend are demanding their place at the table and that they’re saying what goes on in the Niger delta”, he told RFI.

Mend is an umbrella organisation for different groups, among them warlords. When the Nigerian government declared amnesty last year it managed to secure support of most of its key commanders, Goldman says.

The attacks on the high-profile meeting in Warri serve as a reminder “that there are people in Mend who aren’t yet convinced that the government is altogether serious in moving forward in a way that they think is going to solve the crisis in the delta”, he adds.

Meanwhile, Oma Djebah, the Delta State Commissioner for Information told RFI that the population of the Delta State will not be intimated by this “act of cowardice”, accusing the perpetrators of opposing a peaceful solution to the region’s problems.

Attacks on oil facilities have slashed Nigeria's crude production by about one million barrels a day, causing Opec member Angola to overtake the west African giant as Africa's top oil producer.

 

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