Mend claims attack on oil pipeline
Nigeria’s Mend rebels have claimed responsibility for an attack which they say has destroyed an oil pipeline feeding a refinery in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
"Fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) attacked and destroyed the Obidi Refinery trunk line”, the group said in an e-mail statement to the media.
Mend said the pipeline transported crude oil to the refinery in the oil city of Warri in southern Delta State.
The military in the area has said it is not aware of any such attack, although it does not always admit to claims.
Mend has recently threatened to paralyse the country's oil industry after the military claimed to have arrested dozens of its members, as part of a clampdown on recent kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities in the region.
"This attack and similar attacks on pipelines which will take place within the next few days is a reminder to the Nigerian government of the futility of wasting the nation's resources in combating militancy without addressing the underlying causes of agitation in the Niger Delta," said Mend.
Almost a week ago, the military freed 19 hostages from the creeks of the Niger Delta region which is the heart of one of the world's largest oil industries. The victims included French, American, Canadian, Indonesian and Nigerian nationals.
The fresh attacks come ahead of general elections early next year in which President Goodluck Jonathan is running. He’s under severe pressure to rein in the unrest in the region.
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar is to challenge Jonathan as the northern candidate in ruling party primaries, it was reported Monday.
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