Nigeria militants plan to destroy oil pipelines

The main militant group in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta said on Wednesday it would attack major oil pipelines in the next 30 days to prove it had not received payment from the government to end its campaign.

The head of the state-run oil firm, NNPC, was quoted in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday as saying the company had paid militant groups $12-million to protect facilities, including the Chanomi creek pipeline in Delta state.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), whose campaign of violent sabotage has cut Nigeria’s oil output by about a fifth since early 2006, said it wanted to disassociate itself from the comments.

“Mend is aware that huge payments have been made to some criminal gangs in Delta state as protection fees,” the group said in an emailed statement.

“To prove that we are not a part of this deal, the Chanomi creek pipeline and other major pipelines will be destroyed within the next 30 days,” it said.

Bomb attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta, the hub of Africa’s biggest oil industry, which produces about two million barrels per day, have disrupted supplies and helped push global energy prices to record highs.

Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell has a pipeline in the Chanomi creek that feeds into the Forcados oil export terminal.—Reuters

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