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MEND declares “an all out war”

Bonga Attack – Find Culprits, Yar’Adua Orders Soldiers 

This Day (Lagos)

21 June 2008 
Posted to the web 23 June 2008 

By Juliana Taiwo
Following the devastating attack to Shell’s deepwater oil field, Bonga, by militants, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua yesterday ordered the country’s armed forces and security agencies to take all necessary action to apprehend the perpetrators behind Thursday’s attack on the 225,000 barrels per day facility and bring them to justice.

But in a swift reaction to the president’s directive to the armed forces the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which claimed responsibility for the attack, has declared an all out war and warned all foreigners in the region to leave immediately or face the consequences.

MEND described Yar’Adua’s directive to the armed forces as an “empty threat” and “a joke” calling him an “illegal commander-in-chief.”

The attack at the oil facility operated by Shell’s deepwater subsidiary – Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) – has taken the total volume of crude shut ins by the Dutch multinational to almost 700,000 barrels per day with the country losing some $84 million daily to militia activities in the Niger Delta.

The militants numbering about 20 were said to have operated in three speedboats. They also kidnapped a US citizen, Captain Jack Stone, who is a staff of Tidex, an offshore oil drilling company. Stone has since been released.

Addressing State House correspondents, the Special Adviser to the President on Communications, Olusegun Adeniyi, said President Yar’Adua viewed the latest act as one of national sabotage.

Adeniyi said: “The Federal Government wholly condemns yesterday’s attack on the Bonga Oil Field operated by SNEPCO. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has directed the country’s armed forces and security agencies to take all necessary action to apprehend the perpetrators of this latest act of national sabotage and bring them to justice.

“The President has further directed that security be beefed up at all oil facilities and installations in the Niger Delta to forestall further acts of terrorism by criminal elements in the region.

“While the Federal Government remains fully committed to the rapid resolution of problems and grievances of the people of the Niger Delta, it will not shirk its constitutional responsibility for law and order, as well as the safety of lives and property in the Niger Delta region and all other parts of Nigeria.

“Militants in the region who continue to spurn the peace overtures of the Federal Government must be prepared to face the full consequence of taking up arms against their fatherland in a vain and criminal attempt to overawe lawfully constituted authority.

“They must also bear responsibility for the adverse effects of their actions on ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to address the socio-economic problems of the Niger Delta, including the All-Stakeholders Summit scheduled for next month.

“It bears restating that peace and security are essential requirements for the progress and development desired by people in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.”

Adeniyi said the Federal Government would take all necessary action to stop criminals from willfully depriving the region of “these indispensable ingredients of development, and wickedly restricting the nation’s ability to garner vital resources for the improvement of the living conditions of its people.”

On whether the call for the armed forces to take over, would mean an end to the amnesty hitherto reached with the militants, Adeniyi said: “we are talking about criminality here. What happened in the Shell attack is share criminality, and law and order will take its course that is what we are saying.”

Asked if the president has now decided to go on the offensive, he replied: “The offensive is going to be against the criminals. Of course, we will dialogue with militants who want development in the area but not with criminals who take advantage of the situation to exploit and do all kinds of things that tends towards criminality and terrorism. They will be dealt with according to the law.”

Adeniyi continued: “The militants can be differentiated through their activities. For instance, what happened yesterday at Shell’s Bonga field was share criminality and not militancy. Those are not people who seek the development of the Niger Delta.

“Considering what is going on in the area, you should be able to know those militants that are seeking the development of the area and those who are criminals. The government will not shirk from its responsibility.”

The attack has led to the shutting down of the facility located 120 kilometres (75 miles) offshore Bayelsa State.

It also resulted in the shut in of about 225,000 barrels per day (bpd), which translates to about 10 per cent of Nigeria’s current daily production of about 2 million bpd.

The Bonga oil field has a daily production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas. The field operated by Shell under a production sharing contract is jointly owned by ExxonMobil, Agip and TotalfinaElf.

The Bonga field was the first in which oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria’s deepwater continental shelf. Shell started production at Bonga in November 2005, and by May 2007, had exported 100 million barrels from Bonga.

Shell has been the worst hit by militia activities in the Niger Delta mainly due to the fact that it is has the most dispersed operations in the region with most of it onshore.

Offshore operations have mostly been shielded from militia attacks, especially deepwater facilities where Nigeria is hoping to get most of its incremental output over the next few decades.

However, MEND following the presidential directive, in a statement yesterday, said: “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) considers the empty threat made by an illegal commander-in-chief of an inept armed forces of Nigeria as a joke.

“For underrating our capabilities, the military has been ridiculed world wide after the attack on Bonga.

“If they want to further expose their weaknesses, then we challenge them to launch an attack on any of our positions.

“An attack on any militant position is tantamount to a declaration of oil war. The type of war they are expecting is far from what we plan to engage in.

“In order to avoid being caught in the cross fire, we are asking all expatriate oil workers to vacate oil facilities and living quarters in the Niger Delta while we settle our score with an insincere Federal Government.

“We call on all patriotic youths in the region to sabotage oil facilities in your communities while those willing to be trained to fight are welcome in our training camps.

“Any community close to MEND camps that harbours security operatives or spies does so at their risk and such traitors will be punished.

“Long live the Niger Delta!” the statement signed by Jomo Gbomo, MEND’s spokesman concluded.

MEND has threatened more attacks and warned all the oil majors operating in the country to evacuate their expatriate staff from the oil fields until the issues in the region are addressed.

Copyright © 2008 This Day. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media ( and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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