Nigeria's Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said on
Saturday it had destroyed another oil pipeline in the Niger Delta, the
southern oil-rich region. The group has launched a series of attacks on
oil facilities and military targets in Rivers state since it declared
an oil war last Saturday. Gilbert da Costa has more in this report
Nigerian rebels are stepping up their offensive with
the destruction of a major pipeline operated by Shell in their sixth
attack in the past week. The main militant group says the raids are
designed to halt oil exports. Nigeria is the world's eighth largest
"MEND will continue to nibble every day at the oil
infrastructure in Nigeria until the oil exports remain zero," the group
said in an emailed statement to journalists.
Nigeria's state oil company says the country's oil production has fallen by 40 percent due to militant attacks.
to estimates Nigeria has pumped more than $300 billion worth
crude from the southern Delta states, since the 1970s.
high unemployment in the Delta, environmental degradation due to oil
and gas extraction, and the lack of basic resources such as fresh water
and electricity have angered some of the region's youth and incited
them to take up arms.
Tony Uranta, a Niger Delta analyst and
member of the 40-member technical committee set up by the government to
offer a way out of the Delta crisis, says the first step to ending the
violence would be for the federal government to demonstrate the will to
implement a political solution.
"We are confident that if the
government shows the political will to bring a political solution and
non-military solution to the crisis in the region, it could be speedily
ended," he said. "It is a mistake to approach the Niger Delta problem
as a security problem, rather than a development and justice problem."
further recommends the immediate granting of amnesty to all militants
and the release of Henry Okah, a rebel leader who is in jail for
"There must be an across-the-board amnesty for all of
them that are armed members of the struggle for Niger Delta cause," he
said. "The government releasing Henry Okah, government involving Henry
Okah and others in the peace and development process."
between militants and security forces since last Saturday are the
heaviest in two years. Analysts say the government would like to
re-establish control over the Niger Delta and secure oil revenues, a
critical component of the Nigerian economy.