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Nigeria oil rebel faction claims attacks in delta

By on February 12, 2010

A Nigerian militant group claimed on Friday to have blown up two key pieces of oil infrastructure and a gas pipeline in the Niger Delta this week, but there was no independent confirmation of any such attacks.

The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), a coalition of ex-militants and community leaders, said it had blown up Royal Dutch Shell’s Tura manifold connected to the Bonny export terminal in the early hours of Wednesday.

It said in the early hours of Thursday its fighters had then attacked a pipeline in Chanomi Creek belonging to state oil firm NNPC, which carries crude oil to the Kaduna refinery, as well as bombing a gas pipeline to the commercial hub of Lagos.

“The actions are continuous and are preparatory to the final war,” the JRC said in a statement.

Militant groups in the Niger Delta are highly factionalised and it is not clear what operational capacity the JRC has to carry out attacks on oil and gas infrastructure.

The group made a similar claim on Sunday, saying it had disabled a Shell trunk line in the Obunoma area of Rivers state, but neither the Anglo-Dutch company nor the military have since said they had any reports of such an attack.

The main militant group in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), said last month it was ending a ceasefire and threatened renewed attacks on Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry amid delays to an amnesty programme caused partly by the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

It said this week it was “watching developments” after Vice President Goodluck Jonathan formally assumed executive powers in Yar’Adua’s absence, but declined to say whether it would reinstate the ceasefire.


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