Sun, Jun 12, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Niger Delta militant group claims fresh oil-pipeline attack

AFP, LAGOS

A Niger Delta militant group on Friday claimed a fresh attack on a pipeline operated by the Nigerian subsidiary of Italy’s Eni in the restive oil-producing south.

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) said on Twitter: “3:00 am of Friday @NDAvengers blow up the Obi Obi Brass trunk line belonging to Agip Eni.”

“It is Agip’s major crude oil line in Bayelsa State,” it added.

There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from Eni, but Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps state commandant Desmond Agu said there was heavy smoke and fire at the site.

“We got the report at about 4:00am and we deployed our team to that area to check the surroundings,” he said, adding that local traditional rulers had met in the Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa for talks on the attacks.

On Thursday, militants also bombed a pipeline operated by state-run oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) at Ogidigben in Delta State.

Industry sources said the attack happened at 7:40pm along the Chanomi Creek.

No group has claimed responsibility. The NDA has been attacking facilities operated by Nigerian subsidiaries of Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell, US firm Chevron, Eni and the NNPC since the start of the year. The upsurge in unrest has reduced Nigeria’s output to 1.6 million barrels per day, well below the budgeted-for 2.2 million barrels.

That has heaped further pressure on government revenues already hit by the global fall in crude prices since mid-2014.

Agu said the Nigerian security forces were doing their best to protect infrastructure in the state and condemned militant groups for “turning their weapons against themselves.”

“This destruction is having a grave impact not just on the economy of the region but also on the environment,” he said.

Any polluted environment takes a long time to recover and become suitable for farming, fishing and other uses.

The NDA, which says it is seeking a fairer share of Nigeria’s oil wealth for the Niger delta people and self-determination for the region, has rejected a government truce to end the violence.

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