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Nigerian militants declare ‘oil war’ against pipelines in Niger Delta

Daily Telegraph

Nigerian militants declare ‘oil war’ against pipelines in Niger Delta

Western oil workers have been warned to leave Nigeria’s Delta region by militant groups who have declared an ‘oil war’ after two days of gunbattles with state security forces.


Army helicopters, jet fighters and gunboats have pounded rebel positions since Saturday, prompting the main militant group to launch its own full-scale offensive against oil facilities.

Ships were warned to weigh anchor offshore and oil installations in the world’s eighth largest crude producer would be shut down, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) said.

The group had already sabotaged a pipeline operated by Chevron and said it would move on to facilities run by Anglo-Dutch petrol giant Shell.

“We have declared an oil war in response to the unprovoked aerial and marine attacks on our positions by the armed forces of Nigeria,” said Jomo Gbomo, Mend’s spokesman.

“We are asking that oil companies evacuate their staff from their field facilities because the brief is not to capture hostages but to bring these structures to the ground.”

A spokeswoman for Shell said that none of their operations had yet been affected but up to a fifth of the country’s 2.3 million barrels per day has already been shut down as skirmishes with the militants have intensified.

Mend says that it is fighting for a greater share of oil wealth to be spent on the Niger Delta region’s impoverished civilians.

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