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Nigerian Rebels Attack Another Chevron Facility

Militants in southern Nigeria said they have attacked an oil pumping station operated by U.S.-based Chevron.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, said it destroyed the Abiteye flow station in Delta state Monday and blew up two other facilities at the site.

A spokesman for the special military unit in the area, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, said government forces fought the attackers and forced them to retreat.

Chevron has not commented on the militants' claims, which were e-mailed to reporters.

MEND also warned the international football (soccer) federation FIFA against holding its under-17 World Cup tournament in Nigeria later this year.

The militants have stepped up their attacks in recent days, after a Nigerian military offensive that targeted their camps in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

The militants said they blew up oil wells at two other locations in Delta state (Makaraba and Otunana) on Friday and Saturday. Chevron and Nigerian military officials have confirmed damage to pipelines at the sites, without blaming MEND for the damage.

The militants have also threatened to attack the Chevron tank farm in Escravos and warned workers there to evacuate.

MEND said it wants more of the region's oil wealth directed to impoverished local residents. The Nigerian government describes the militants as criminals.

Since early 2006, militant activities have cut Nigeria's daily oil production by some 40 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.