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Avengers Say No Respite

Posted: Jul 9, 2016 at 4:32 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

…Blow Up Pipelines Thrice This Week 

…Our Goal Is To Cripple Nigeria’s Economy – Militants

The resolve of Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to continue their violent campaigns in the Niger Delta region is not waning, as the militant has reiterated after a bombing of oil installations early Friday morning that there was not respite yet.

The latest militant group to emerge in Nigeria threatening the nation’s economy yesterday carried out the third bombing campaigns within five days.

The group bombed oil infrastructure in Bayelsa and Rivers states at different times on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

The NDA has stated unambiguously what it sets out to achieve: “Our goal is to cripple Nigeria’s economy.”
It wants international oil companies out of the region, whose people largely live in poverty despite the billions of dollars generated by oil extraction over decades.

The Monday and Thursday attacks were in Delta State, but this time around, the targets were Nembe 1, 2, 3 and Tebedaba Brass Trunk-line in Bayelsa/River states, according to a statement posted on its website, which said that the attacks happened between 3am and 5am on Friday.

“At about the hours of 3am to 5am the Niger Delta Avengers blew-up Nembe 1, 2, 3 and Tebedaba brass trunk-line in Bayelsa/River States, the statement signed by Brig. Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, its spokesperson said.

This latest bombing is coming four days after the militants threatened to bomb six pipelines in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states and two days after President Muhammadu Buhari warned all those agitating for self-determination including the militants in Niger Delta region that the sovereignty of Nigeria was not negotiable.

The Avengers have in the last four days bombed more than six pipelines belonging to Chevron and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in its determination to force government to accede to its numerous demands.

On Monday night, the group attacked oil facilities, blowing up two manifolds operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of NNPC at Batan community in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. Two other trunk lines, belonging to NNPC in the area were also destroyed by the militants.

Also, an oil well, operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited at (CNL) the Makaraba village of Gbaramatu Kingdom, was also attacked. Sources identified the oil well as Chevron well 10.

The Batan attack occurred between 10.35pm and 11.20pm on Monday while the attackers blew up the Chevron’s oil well at about the same time. Military and community sources confirmed the attacks on Tuesday.

Residents of the community were quoted, as saying that the attack on NPDC manifold was a few metres away from Batan Flow Station, also owned by Chevron. They said that a loud explosion accompanied the attack on the manifold before two separate explosions hit the NNPC pipelines supplying crude to the Warri and Kaduna refineries.

The crude produced at the flow station is discharged through the manifolds to Forcados Terminal in the Burutu Local Government Area of the state. Military sources, which also confirmed the attacks, noted that the Trans-Forcados Pipelines were major trunk lines feeding the Shell Forcados with crude.

Batan community chairman, Mr. Ogudu Dickson, was said to have confirmed the incident on Tuesday.
Dickson, while lamenting the incident, said the people of the area lived in fears because they had not seen such heavy explosions since the resurgence on militancy in the region, adding that his people were in danger, fearing that fire could break out anytime because of the huge spill in the creeks following the Sunday and Monday night attacks on oil facilities in the areas.

He noted that some of the residents were already fleeing to Warri and other neighbouring communities for safety.
Independent on Saturday learned that troops deployed in the area were caught unawares by the Monday night’s bombings as the militants took advantage of the low tide of the sea to carry out their nefarious activities.

In low tide, boats, including the military gunboats, cannot navigate through the swamps where most of these oil facilities are located except with wooden smaller boats.

It was further gathered that the attacked Chevron oil well, NPDC’s manifolds and the affected trunk lines had been shut down by their operators.

The second attack on oil infrastructure by the group was on Thursday, after rejecting a call for unity from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group said in an email that it hit manifolds RMP 22, 23 and 24 operated by Chevron Nigeria Limited in Delta state at about 1:20 am (0020 GMT). RMP 23 and 24 had previously been attacked on June 1.

RMPs or remote manifold platforms are where smaller oil and gas pipelines converge before being sent to larger lines. It is understood the facilities had been repaired since the last strike.

A senior military officer, who does not want hiss name in print, was quoted as saying that the attack happened in the Warri North area of Delta states, adding: “A controlled explosive device was used to carry the attack.

“These give them (the militants) ample time to detonate the device even while they have long left the scene of the incident.”

The spate of attack by the Niger Delta Avengers since February has hit oil production in the country, exacerbating a financial crisis caused by low global crude prices since mid-2014. In fact, the country’s production has dropped to 1.65 million bpd, as against the projected 2.2 million bpd.

“The renewed activities of the militants in the Niger Delta is seriously affecting our oil production,” Kemi Adeosun Minister of Finance admitted recently.

The military has issued a stern warning that it will deal decisively with any group fermenting trouble in the country, including those it has described as “criminal elements in the Niger Delta”.

But this appears to have emboldened the Avengers into more attacks that have had a knock-on effect on the supply of electricity that depends on gas from the oil-producing companies.

For President Buhari, who just marked one year in office, the NDA presents another fresh security challenge to the government, which has been grappling with Islamist insurgency in the north-east of the country.