Sharing is caring!Facebook0Twitter0Google+0Pinterest0 Militants operating in the oil rich Niger Delta area of Nigeria, blew up a major oil pipeline in...
Militants operating in the oil rich Niger Delta area of Nigeria, blew up a major oil pipeline in Mabaraka community in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area in Delta State.
The affected pipeline belongs to Chevron Nigeria Limited and this attack occurred in the early hours of Friday, May 13, 2016, Vanguard reports. Gbaramatu is host to a major Chevron flow station and is home to Government Ekpemupolo a popular ex-guerrilla warlord in the region also known as Tompolo.
Security agencies in Nigeria say they have arrested five suspects in connection with the bombing of the pipeland. And it is unclear if the apprehended persons are connected with the new militancy group in the region, the Niger Delta Avengers.
Spokesperson for the joint military task force (JTF) operating in the region, Colonel Isa Ada was not available for comments on the recent attack.
The Delta Avengers is yet to claim responsibility for the daring attack which occurred close to an outpost for Nigerian soldiers guarding oil facilities in the troubled oil region. The attack will further deplete oil production rates in the country.
Earlier in the week, the group claimed it had successfully shut down 50% of the oil operations in the Niger Delta and promised more attacks if a 14-day ultimatum to oil companies to leave the region was not met. The group said it had carried out its campaign without killing anybody – civilian or military.
“I cannot give you details of the suspects arrested; they were arrested by the military men, who have been on the hunt for members of the Niger Delta Avengers, which claimed responsibility for series of explosions on oil facilities in the area of late,” an anonymous, but reliable source, told Vanguard.
According to eye-witnesses, the militants blew up the pipeline at two different locations. Chevron officials were seen conducting an inspection of the damage on Friday morning in helicopters. The affected pipeline is in a swampy terrain near Abiteye and fire and smoke billowed into the sky after the attack.
“The loud explosive bang was heard at the facility and it appears dynamites were used to carry out the attack,” a security source said.
“It is not certain if there are casualties as a result of the incident, but investigations into the attack is still ongoing, while security operatives continue their search for the perpetrators of this ugly act,” he further revealed under condition of anonymity.
Deji Haastrup, Chevron’s general manager for public affairs was not available for comment as he was out of the country at the time enquiries were made. Mr. Tunji Idowu, and official of the American oil company, who spoke in his stead said, “We are still assessing the situation; we do not have facts on it yet.’’
The Delta Avengers
The newest and most vocal militant group in the Niger Delta has accepted responsibility for the destruction of major and strategic oil pipelines in the region which began in February, 2015. The group says it is advocating for a free Niger Delta Republic which would comprise the South South and South East regions of the country.
The Niger Delta Avengers had issued a press release on Thursday, promising a “bloody campaign” if oil companies fail to heed the group’s warning to shut down operations and leave the region. “Just shut down and leave,” the group’s spokesman, Colonel Mudroch Agbinibo said in the statement.
It warned of more attacks if there was any attempt to repair damaged pipelines and claimed responsibility for destroying, Valve Platform, a major pipeline connecting Warri with Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries.
The group promises to attack Chevron’s headquarters in Lagos if its demands is not met.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has said he would do everything he can to ensure Nigeria doesn’t break up to protect parochial interests of the Nomadic Fulani tribe in the country. In an interview in London, this week, Buhari appeared not to be aware of the existence of the Niger Delta Avengers and attributed the recent pipeline attacks to aggrieved ex militants who had not been paid their allowances.