Nigerian rebels attack Chevron oil facility


Nigeria‘s main militant group says it has sabotaged a Chevron-operated oil pumping station in the southern Delta state, the second attack against the US energy company in two weeks.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), responsible for attacks that have shut one-fifth of Nigeria‘s oil output in the last three years, this morning said it attacked the Otunana pumping station late yesterday.

It was not immediately clear if any oil production in the OPEC member country was affected. The Niger Delta is the heartland of Africa‘s biggest oil and gas industry.

“A major ‘cordon and search’ operation by MEND commenced today … with devastating effects on the heavily fortified Chevron Otunana flow station,” the group said in a statement sent by email.

It was not possible to independently verify MEND’s statement. No comment was immediately available from the Nigerian military or Chevron officials.

MEND declared an “all-out war” against the military last month and sabotaged a Chevron pipeline that caused the shutdown of 100,000 barrels per day.

The militant attacks followed last month’s launch of the military’s biggest offensive in years against Niger Delta gunmen.

Security forces bombarded militant camps from the air and sea and sent three battalions of troops to hunt down rebels believed to have fled into surrounding communities.

MEND says it is fighting for a fairer share of the natural resources in the Niger Delta, but criminal gangs involved in industrial-scale theft of crude oil and kidnapping for ransom are profiting from the insecurity.

MEND, a loose coalition of militant factions, yesterday promised for the second time in 10 days to release a British oil worker held hostage in the Niger Delta for the past nine months.

The group has said several times in the past that it would release Matthew Maguire, who was seized on September 9, but he remains captive.