Monday, May 16, 2016 9:14 am
The Nigerian army has arrested several members of a destructive militant group in the Niger Delta.
Nigerian newspapers reported today that the suspects arrested were members of the Niger Delta Avengers, a new group which had claimed responsibility for the recent wave of attacks on pipelines in the Delta region.
The group, linked with fugitive militant, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, in a recent statement threatened to step up the attacks that for now has brought down Nigeria’s oil production to a record 22-year low.
The “Avengers” have carried out a string of attacks since February that reduced Nigerian oil output by at least 300,000 barrels a day of output, and shut down two refineries and a major export terminal.
On Thursday the group emailed journalists a statement saying it was fighting for an independent Delta and would step up its attacks unless oil firms left the region within two weeks.
“If at the end of the ultimatum you are still operating, we will blow up all the locations,” it said.
“It will be bloody. So just shut down your operations and leave.”
“To international oil companies, this is just the beginning and you have not seen anything yet. We will make you suffer,” it said.
Chevron and Shell have borne the brunt of the attacks , with the group even threatening to hit Chevron at its headquarters in Lagos.
In February the group claimed an attack on an undersea pipeline that forced Shell to shut a 250,000 barrels a day Forcados terminal.
Last week, it took credit for blasting a Chevron platform, shutting the Warri and Kaduna refineries. Power outages across Nigeria worsened as gas supplies were also affected.
There have been other smaller attacks and this week another explosion, which bore the hallmarks of the group, closed Shell’s Bonny Light export programme.