Nigerian militants on Thursday claimed another attack on a pipeline in the country’s oil-rich south, the latest in a string of strikes against infrastructure that has hit production.
The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) said in a statement it had “bombed the Unenurhie-Evwreni delivery line” in the Ughelli area of Delta state at about 1:00 am (0000 GMT).
The pipeline is operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, a subsidiary of the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The NDGJM said the attack was “to prove to the wicked and ungrateful multinational oil companies and their Nigerian military allies… that we own our lands”.
A number of rebel groups who have attacked oil and gas facilities in the delta region this year say local people in the swamps and creeks of the region have not benefited from the industry.
Most remain in poverty and infrastructure is lacking, despite the billions of dollars made on the back of production since the 1950s.
A member of Nigeria’s intelligence agency, the Department of State Services, confirmed the incident, which he said had caused a fire.
“We have alerted (the) NPDC and we hope they are taking necessary actions in stopping products flowing through the line,” said the DSS operative, who declined to be named.
“But what we have gathered so far, dynamite was used on the facility, just like their previous attack.”
Ogheneochuko Emurotu, from the local Evwreni community, said residents heard the explosion overnight and troops were deployed to the scene at first light.
“Early this morning at about 6:00 am, troops of the Operation Safe Delta tried combing the scene of the incident for their investigation,” he said.
“But they could not gain access to the scene of the incident due to the degree of fire on the pipeline.”
The NDGJM last attacked another pipeline, also in the Ughelli area, on September 18 and has vowed to “ground” Nigeria’s economy, which is already in recession.
Successive attacks since the start of the year have cut crude production, exacerbating revenue shortages caused by the global fall in oil prices over the last two years.