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Militants claim pipeline attack

Militants claim pipeline attack

12/08/2008 09:30  – (SA)

Port Harcourt – A faction of Nigeria’s most prominent militant group said on Monday it sabotaged a key natural gas pipeline in the restive Niger Delta, the latest in a series of attacks against Africa’s biggest oil producer.

The Niger Delta Vigilante, an affiliate of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), said its “diving unit” attacked a pipeline owned by state-oil firm NNPC that supplies natural gas to the Alakiri flowstation in Rivers state.

“This particular one was chosen to demonstrate our might of going below sea level to sabotage oil facilities,” said the group’s spokesperson Tamunokuro Ebitari.

“This is one of our plans to cripple the economic base of Rivers state.”

Officials with Nigeria’s Joint Task Force, NNPC and Royal Dutch Shell could not confirm the attack, which the militant group said occurred early on Monday morning.

Various armed groups operate under the franchise of Mend, whose campaign of violent sabotage has cut the Opec member’s oil output by a fifth since early 2006.

The militant group said the damaged pipeline provided natural gas supplies to the Port Harcourt refinery, which produces gasoline, diesel and other crude products.

But an NNPC official said the Port Harcourt refinery is only processing crude oil from the delta, the heart of Nigeria’s oil sector.

If the militant group’s claims are true, the NNPC official said the pipeline was likely supplying natural gas to the nearby LNG plant on Bonny Island.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company said she was not aware of any supply problems or pipeline disruptions to the plant.,,2-11-1447_2374141,00.html

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