Nigerian militants destroy two oil pipelines
May 18, 2009
Nigeria''s main militant group claimed responsibility for destroying two oil pipelines in the southern Niger Delta, the latest attack amid the worst outbreak of violence to hit the region in months, according to the Associated Press. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta gave no further details on the attack. A private security official, however, said attackers threw dynamite and fired upon an oil installation run by Royal Dutch Shell''s local joint venture. The security official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The militants also said two Filipino sailors kidnapped from an oil industry service boat died when the Nigerian military attacked its camp where fifteen Filipino sailors were being held. The military earlier said it had rescued six Filipino hostages and recovered their oil boat in its attack on the camp run by militant leader Government Tompolo. There was no word on the fate of other Filipino hostages. The Nigerian military sent helicopter gunships and gunboats against the camp after militant fighters had clashed earlier in the week with security personnel and hijacked the oil boat carrying the Filipinos. The violence was the worst since September, when militants destroyed several oil pipelines after clashes with government forces. Many militant camps from various factions dot the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta, where crude oil is pumped in Africa''s biggest producer. Militants say they''re fighting to force the federal government to send more oil revenues back to the southern oil region, which remains desperately poor despite six decades of oil production. The government says the militants are mostly interested in stealing oil. After years of militant activity and lack of maintenance on crucial oil infrastructure, Nigeria produces about 1.6 million barrels of crude per day, or about one quarter less than its stated capacity. Gunmen have seized over 200 foreign workers in the southern oil region since 2006. Hostages are generally released unharmed after a ransom is paid, although two others have been killed in botched rescue operations. Besides the missing Filipinos, only one other foreign hostage is known to be in captivity, an Englishman captured more than six month ago.