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Nigeria arrests nine gunmen linked to oil attack

Reuters

Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:59am EDT

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, June 23 (Reuters) – Nigerian security forces arrested nine gunmen suspected to be involved in last week’s pipeline attack that forced Agip to halt some oil output in the Niger Delta, the military said on Tuesday.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the country’s most prominent rebel group, claimed responsibility for blowing up an oil pipeline at Nembe creek in southern Nigeria’s Bayelsa state last Friday. [ID:nLJ121769] Colonel Rabe Abubakar, spokesman for the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, said the suspects were arrested with 142 rounds of ammunition, two guns and a speedboat.

“The suspects are currently assisting the JTF to uncover the masterminds of the attack,” Abubakar said.

Friday’s attack forced Italy’s Agip (ENI.MI) to shut 33,000 barrels of oil and 2 million cubic metres of gas per day.

The production stoppage comes on top of around 100,000 bpd shut by Chevron (CVX.N) and an undefined volume stopped by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L).

MEND said on Sunday it attacked three oil installations belonging to Shell in the Niger Delta, home to Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry. [ID:nLL486595]

The militant group has declared an “all-out war” against the military since security forces last month launched its biggest offensive in the western delta for years.

 

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