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Niger Delta Avengers claims bombing major oil pipeline in southern Nigeria

The group said they were frustrated with no progress being made on the negotiation with the government. Photograph: (Getty)

Nigeria Sep 25, 2016, 06.46 AM (IST)
The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group in Nigeria's Niger Delta, has claimed responsibility for bombing the Bonny 48 inches crude export line, a major oil pipeline in southern Nigeria late on Friday. 

“On the 23rd September 2016, our strike team at 20:40 PM hours time has brought down oil productions activities at the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line. This action is a signature to the over dramatisation of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government,” the group wrote on its website. 
 
An NDA spokesman said that while they were still in favour of the dialogue, they were frustrated with no progress being made on the deal and also with the authorities' acts of intimidation and blackmail. He also called the Friday's destruction of the pipeline as a “wake-up call”.

The attack comes almost a month after the group, which seeks a fairer distribution of the oil revenue that make up for 70 per cent of the state's income, had brokered a ceasefire with the government and had announced that it would lay down its weapons, according to AFP news agency. 

The Nigerian Army had launched “Operation Crocodile Smile” to clamp down on the militant groups and reinstate their control in the oil hub of Warri. It is also battling large-scale illegal refinery operations and kidnappings, according to reports. 

Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), which operates the pipeline, said the damage was being investigated. 

A blow to Nigerian economy

Nigerian economy, which is heavily dependent on its oil revenues, has suffered a major blow in the wake of repeated attacks by militants who want a more equitable distribution of the revenue, AFP observes. 

The output of oil giants like Shell, Exxon and Chevron have reduced to a third at a time when the global prices have already gone for a toss, the international news agency reported today. Nigerian oil production has come down to 1.7 million barrels a day in the first quarter from 2.1 million barrels. 

Nigeria's dwindling oil production and a restrictive foreign exchange policy was adversely affecting the country's prospects, Ratings agency Standard and Poor said. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)
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