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Nigerian militants say Shell pipeline destroyed

18/09/2008 21:56 

Nigerian militants say Shell pipeline destroyed

The most prominent militant group in southern Nigeria — the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) — said Thursday it had destroyed a major oil pipeline belonging to Royal Dutch Shell.

“Fighters from MEND using high explosives have destroyed a major pipeline belonging to Shell Development Company at the Elem-Kalabari Cawthorne Channel axis in Rivers state,” the group said in an email to the media.

The group said the attack took place around 6:30 pm (1730 GMT). It gave few other details except to say that its men bumped into an army patrol that begged for mercy.

There was no immediate comment from Shell.

The attack is the fifth on a Shell facility in Rivers State, the centre of Nigeria’s oil industry, in the space of a week. Chevron has also reported “shooting incidents” close to two of its installations, also in Rivers.

MEND on Sunday declared “war” on the oil industry.

On Wednesday, in a rare daylight attack, MEND said it had blown up a major pipeline, which it said it believed to belong to Shell and to Agip of Italy.

Earlier the same day it attacked a Shell flow station at Orubiri along with another militant group.

Earlier in the week MEND attacked Shell’s Alakiri flow station and another pipeline.

The group has threatened to extend its raids to the other major oil states, Bayelsa and Delta and also to attack the country’s two big deep offshore fields, Shell’s Bonga and Chevron’s Agbami.

In June MEND staged an attack on Bonga, a field which had until then been thought safely out of the reach of militant attacks.

Since it first emerged in early 2006 MEND, which says it is fighting for a larger share of southern Nigeria’s oil revenue to go to local people, has cut Nigeria’s oil production by more than one quarter.

MEND also said Thursday night that a group of its fighters had left base to drop off two South African hostages that the group claims to have rescued from pirates on Friday.

The group said it was planning to hand the men over to a representative of the South African embassy.

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