The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has confirmed the latest attack on a 30,000bpd Shell flow station in Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa state, saying it was carried out by one of its ”militant cells” under ‘Operation Cyclone’ aimed at crippling Nigeria’s oil export.
“On Saturday, May 3, 2008 at around 0200Hrs, a militant cell empowered by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) over-ran a heavily fortified Shell flow station in Bayelsa state and destroyed the facility, including the destruction of three well heads under the on-going operation cyclone.
“This attack was prompted by four factors; To support small cells like the ones that attacked Chevron in Delta state, to let the oil companies know that we consider the military gunboats and soldiers guarding their facilities as mere ornaments and can confront them at will, to dispel the assurances of ensuring peace by some compromised militants who have sold their birth rights (and in protest against the )kangaroo court ruling insisting on a secret trial for Henry Okah,” MEND said in a stement emailed to journalists Sunday.
The group said one of its militants, identified as Awala Emmanuel ”who led the attack on Chevron succumbed to injuries sustained during the attack while undergoing surgery in one of the MEND camps”.
Meanwhile, MEND has said it is ”seriously considering” a temporary ceasefire appeal by US Senator Barack Obama.
“Obama is someone we respect and hold in high esteem. The period of halting attacks we hope when considered, will afford the Nigerian government the opportunity to address the issues with Henry Okah, including improving his living conditions and having access to a bible which he has requested for but was denied,” the group said.
The latest attack was the fifth on the facilities of Shell in the oil region in recent times.
Shell produces about half of Nigeria’s export quota of 2.1 million bpd, hence analysts consider the continuous attacks against its installations as a blow to Nigeria’s oil export.
The restiveness in the Niger Delta has been partly blamed for the rising international crude oil prices.