The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta area, Nigeria early Saturday attacked a crude oil pipeline operated by Shell and Chevron, in an operation the militants said, tagged a ‘warning strike’
MEND said the “warning strike (was) carried out by five boats involving thirty five … fighters armed with assault rifles, rocket launchers and heavy calibre machine guns … at about 0200Hrs today… on a major Shell/Chevron crude pipeline in southern Rivers State.”
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed the attack in an e-mail statement, like its previous strikes.
MEND had on October 25 announced an indefinite ceasefire in response to a government amnesty programme for militants in the restive oil region to lay down their arms.
The group also named a team to negotiate with the government on how to end the unrest in the region.
MEND said it would now review the ceasefire within 30 days, blaming the government for suspending ongoing peace talks because of the ill-health of President Umaru Yar’Adua, hospitalised since November 23 in Saudi Arabia.
“While the Nigerian government has conveniently tied the advancement of talks on the demands of this group to a sick president, it has not tied the repair of pipelines, exploitation of oil and gas as well as the deployment and re-tooling of troops in the region to the president’s ill health,” it said.
“While wishing the president a speedy recovery, a situation where the future of the Niger Delta is tied to the health and well being of one man is unacceptable,” it said.
MEND vowed to continue “its fight for the restoration of the land and rights of the people of the Niger Delta which has been stolen for fifty years”.