Nigeria: Niger Delta rebel group hits Economic capital

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The notorious rebel movement in Nigeria (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta), has carried out an attack on an oil-tanker facility in Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos: It is the groups first attack in the country’s economic capital. The rebel group had vowed to call off their rebellion if their leader Mr. Henry Okah was discharged and acquitted of treason and gun-running charges labeled against him.

According to a statement released by MEND, “heavily armed men had carried out an unprecedented attack on the Atlas Cove Jetty in Lagos” at 2230 hours. The depot and loading tankers moored at the facility are currently on fire.”

The attack comes hours before treason and gun-running charges against their leader, Henry Okah, are expected to be dropped at a court hearing on Monday (July 13, 2009) as part of a government amnesty deal offered to rebels. Mr. Okah’s lawyer, Femi Falana has revealed that it is most likely that the attorney general would decide not to pursue the case against Mr Okah.

The MEND rebels have claimed to be fighting for the rights of local people in the Niger Delta and for an increased share of Nigeria’s vast oil wealth, and have now taken their fight to country’s most populated city. Despite an amnesty offered by the Nigerian government, the rebel group has refused to hold back attacks on oil facilities until their leader, Okah, was walking free.

Recently, the group has been linked with the recent kidnapping of Chinese fishermen in the Bakassi peninsular, and have been linked with rebel attacks against the Equatorial Guinea government.

Spokesperson of MEND, General Boyloaf, assured Nigerians that as soon as their leader was set free, they will not retain a single bullet, so observers are hoping that this recent attack was their very last. However, many Nigerians remain skeptical about the rebels vow of a total surrender.

Also read: Nigeria: Rebel activities likely continue after Henry Okah’s release

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