Only a week after a military operation to rescue foreign hostages, captured by Niger Delta militants, killed over a hundred people in the Niger Delta region, the rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) has, reportedly, destroyed several oil pipelines. This also comes after the rebel movement declared war on the Nigerian government, last week.
According to analysts the attacks on pipelines by Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), which began Sunday is a direct response to the military’s objective of “completely” removing them from the region. Monday an e-mail, signed by Mend and sent to the press, indicated that the destruction of “large sections” of the region’s pipelines is “to cause the drying up of supplies to the storage tank of Chevron in the Delta.”
Chevron oil, confirming the sabotage, said the group has halted part of its production in the Delta region. The closure, according to the group will see a decline of “100 000 barrels per day” in production. The decision to stop production is also to environmentally “protect” the Delta swamps.
Mend on its part has threatened to pursue its plan to sabotage the production of oil if exports do not cease.
Last week the local media accused the Nigerian army – the joint Task Force (JTF) — for bombarding entire communities from the air, sea and land, killing over one thousand civilians in a bid to rescue seventeen hostages from the rebels. Naval gunboats and helicopter gunship attackers were reportedly utilized. Other reports claim that over 200 000 people were caught in the line of fire.
However, the Joint Task Force (JTF) have insisted that they have only targetted Mend hideouts as well as areas where hostages are held. Analysts have said the loss of human life is mainly due to the fact that the Nigerian army is less conversant with the geography of the Niger Delta creeks.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claims to be fighting for a fairer share of Nigeria’s oil wealth for local people, but has been guilty of oil theft, extortion and indiscriminate kidnappings.