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Oil Pipeline in Niger Delta Attacked by Militants

Workers, seen through a pipe, look on at the scene of an oil pipeline fire in Dadabili, Niger state. (File)

Reports from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria say an oil pipeline has been attacked and left ruptured and burning.

The Nigerian militant group that goes by the acronym MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) said it carried out Saturday's attack on the Italian-owned pipeline. In an e-mail message to journalists, it promised more attacks on foreign-owned interests in the country.

The pipeline's owner, Italian firm Eni, has yet to comment on the attack. It occurred in Bayelsa state, home to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan and where a gubernatorial election is scheduled for next Saturday.

In its e-mail message, MEND labeled the attack "relatively insignificant," but "a sign of things to come." It singled out South African businesses for future attacks.

MEND has accused South African President Jacob Zuma of interference in what it called the "legitimate fight for justice in the Niger Delta." South African businesses, including the MTN telecommunications firm, have operations throughout Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation.

A government amnesty that was introduced in 2009 led thousands of militants in the Niger Delta to surrender their arms and joining training programs. It led to a significant reduction in attacks and allowed for an increase in oil production.