Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Militants threatens to cripple oil industry

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack on the ExxonMobil Ibeno oil facility in Akwa Ibom State, six weeks after it hit Abuja with bomb blasts that killed and maimed.

The MEND warned that it would, in the coming weeks, launch a major operation to cripple oil business, a reminder of the attacks on oil facilities that began in 2006 and lasted till the amnesty deal was struck in October last year.

MEND Spokesman Jomo Gbomo said the latest incident began at about 2040 hours Nigerian time and ended at about 2237 hours after its fighters detonated explosives earlier rigged to the facility, causing damage.

Seven employees were abducted, as happened in another attack at the Okoro oil field on November 7.

The MEND explained that hostages were taken to prevent the government from attributing the damage to an industrial accident.

Gbomo issued a statement which drew the attention of the international community to Nigerian troops' "indiscriminate bombing and strafing of communities" in the Niger Delta and locations in the creeks and swamps suspected of accommodating militia camps.

He alleged that at about 1400 hours on November 15, soldiers "carried out such an attack as described above, in one of our camps in Rivers State.

"Expatriate hostages held at this location had to be removed and relocated for their safety as rocket attacks by the Nigerian military came very close to these individuals.

"The Nigerian Government should be mindful of the fact that these activities are endangering the lives of these hostages who otherwise would come to no harm in our custody."

The statement said no amount of military activities will secure the release of the hostages, who will be set free when the MEND decides to.

It noted that Abuja "has refused to dialogue over addressing the injustice in the Niger Delta preferring instead to deceive the world into believing that the Niger Delta issue has been resolved by the government of Goodluck Jonathan who has only been successful in bribing a few miscreants."

Daily Independent

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