Nigerian militants say disabled Shell oil pipeline

A Nigerian militant group said on Sunday it had attacked a Royal Dutch Shell oil pipeline in the Niger Delta but the Anglo-Dutch company said it had no reports of any such sabotage.

The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), a coalition of ex-militants and community leaders, said in a statement it had disabled a trunk line in the Obunoma area of Rivers state connecting several flow stations to the Bonny export terminal.

“At about midnight today, the patriotic force of the Niger Delta successfully disabled the trunk line belonging to Shell in the swamp of Obunoma,” the JRC statement said.

There was no independent confirmation of an attack.

Thousands of militants in the Niger Delta last year handed over weapons under an amnesty programme led by the administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua, bringing a lull in attacks against Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.

But progress in implementing the post-amnesty programme, including the payment of stipends and re-training of former militants, has slowed during Yar’Adua’s more than two month absence for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

The JRC warned last month that training centres and funding were inadequate for the programme.

The main militant group in the region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), called off a three-month old ceasefire a week ago and threatened to unleash an “all-out assault” on the OPEC member’s energy industry.

Oil traders expect Nigerian crude oil exports to fall in March because of insecurity.

Years of violence in the Niger Delta have prevented Nigeria from pumping much above 2 million barrels per day of oil, just two thirds of its installed production capacity, costing it around $1 billion a month in lost oil revenues.



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