Nigeria’s main militant group repeated its warning on Sunday that it will target foreign workers with the country’s biggest construction firm if it does not halt operations in the capital Abuja in the next 24 hours.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), which launched a campaign of violence against the oil sector in early 2006, first issued the threat against Julius Berger last Monday to pressure the firm to resume work in the delta.
The Nigerian unit of German builder Bilfinger Berger halted work last month in the oil-rich delta after two German employees were kidnapped.
”Disregarding our threat will be putting the expatriate staff nationwide including the two currently being held hostage at risk, for which the management of Julius Berger should be held liable,” the group said in an emailed statement.
Officials with Julius Berger, one of Nigeria’s biggest private sector employers, have declined comment on the threats.
Security sources doubted the ability of the militants to make good on threats of attacks outside the Niger Delta, where they are demanding development and a greater share of the region’s oil wealth.
Mend, responsible for most of the attacks in the delta that have cut a fifth of Nigeria’s oil production, has threatened to target cities outside the delta in the past two years but has not followed through, security sources said. – Reuters