Militant group purportedly claims new attack in Nigeria’s Delta
ABUJA – A militant group has purportedly claimed a new attack on a Chevron oil facility in Nigeria’s restive Delta region, a message on a Twitter feed previously used by the group to take credit for strikes against oil facilities said.
There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from residents of the area or Chevron.
A militant group called Niger Delta Avengers has claimed a string of attacks in the southern region which have helped reduce Nigeria’s oil output to nearly a 20-year low.
“We Warned #Chevron<here but they didn’t Listen. @NDAvengers<twitter.com/NDAvengers> just blow up the Escravos tank farm Main Electricity Feed PipeLine,” the message on the Twitter account in the name of the group said. The same account was previously used by the group to claim attacks on Chevron and Shell oil facilities.
The message was tweeted to @reuters and other foreign and local media.
A Chevron spokeswoman had no immediate comment. It was not possible to get confirmation from residents after the message was issued late on Wednesday night.
The Avengers, who say they are fighting for a greater share of oil profits, an end to pollution and independence for the swampy southern region, have warned oil firms to leave before the end of the month, according to a series of statements issued on its website or Twitter feed. Nigeria has moved in army reinforcements to hunt the militants but British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said this month President Muhammadu Buhari needed to deal with the root causes of the conflict.
Crude sales from the Delta account for 70 percent of national income in Africa’s biggest economy but residents, some of whom sympathise with the militants, have long complained of poverty.
Buhari has extended an amnesty deal signed with militants in 2009 that stepped up funding for the region. But he has cut funding for the deal and cancelled contracts with former militants to protect the pipelines they used to attack. -Reuters