The Movement for the Emancipation of
the Niger Delta (MEND), Nigeria’s main militant group, said Wednesday oil
companies in the region have 24 hours to evacuate their staff or face
attack.In a statement, the group
reportedly called on its fighters to unleash what it calls a horrible toll on
the oil industry and the Nigerian economy.
MEND also said its fighters inflicted several casualties on the Nigerian
military during a Wednesday attack on two of its camps in Delta State.
Rabe Abubakar, spokesman for the Nigerian military’s Joint Task Force in the
Niger Delta, told VOA Nigerian nationals and
expatriates in the region should go about their normal business without fear of
any militant attack.
we are saying is this, Nigerians resident in this part of the country, the
expatriates working in both construction and oil companies are advised by the
Joint Task Force and other security agencies that they should go about their
normal businesses unmolested and unharassed. The security agencies are on top
of the situation, and that they should go about their normal business without
fear of anything. However, they are advised to…report any artificial movement
of persons around their homes to JTF (Joint Task Force) and any other security
agency for prompt action,” he said.
claimed Wednesday the Nigerian army launched attacks on two of its camps in
Delta State, but that it repelled the attacks by sinking two army gunboats and
inflicted casualties on the military.
confirmed an encounter with the militants took place and that two army troops
were injured. But he said all task force gunboats were intact.
are not in any way trying to wage war, but in order for the record to be put
strict, what happened was last week Saturday we were able to arrest some
bandits, and the troops who were guarding the bandits were sent to other
location. We were trying to send some new group to go and take over from them
that’s how the militants ambushed us and injured two of our soldiers. I’m
assuring you that all our gunboats are intact, and those guys who were injured
were evacuated to Warri in an undisclosed hospital for treatment,” Abubakar
said the army has never been the aggressor even when militants killed
government soldiers. Abubakar said the Joint Task Force exists only to protect
property and lives.
military task force here is to protect the lives and property of innocent
citizens and then protect the economic assets and other important valuable key
points. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here. We have a mandate which
doesn’t allow us to be offensive. But we are always on the defensive. If we are
attacked, we are mandated to defend ourselves using minimal force,” Abubakar
also reportedly said Wednesday it was considering freeing British hostage
Matthew Maguire who was taken hostage in September.
said Maguire’s release would be a welcome development.