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  • Militants abduct seven oil workers in Nigeria

    Published on November 17, 2010

    Nigeria’s main militant group MEND said it abducted seven oil workers at an offshore oil facility owned by ExxonMobil corporation and threatened to step up violence in the region which is vital to US oil supplies.

    “The attack commenced at approximately 20.40hrs Nigerian time and terminated at approximately 22. 37hrs Nigerian time, after our fighters detonated explosives they had earlier rigged to this facility, causing considerable damage,” Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a mailed statement.

    The attack was to prevent the Nigerian government from attributing a damage the militants cause at the facility to industrial accident.

    On Friday, Nigeria’s military carried out a raid on a militant camp in the restive oil producing region arresting two suspected rebels.

    MEND accused them of ‘indiscriminate bombing and strafing of communities in the Niger Delta and locations in the creeks and swamps suspected of accommodating militia camps’.

    The group said the onslaught by Nigerias military almost led to the death of seven expatriate oil workers in its custody.

    ‘The Nigerian government should be mindful of the fact that these activities are endangering the lives of these hostages who otherwise would come to no harm in our custody. No amount of military activities will secure the release of these hostages. They will be released at our time,’ MEND said adding that it would launch a major operation that will simultaneously affect oil facilities across the Niger Delta.

    The oil rich region of Nigeria is notorious for unrestricted attacks by rebels who often kidnap oil workers and at present seven foreigners from the United States, France, Canada and Indonesia are being held hostage by a group called Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

    Last week, militants had used explosives to attack the homestead of, Mr.Timi Alaibe an adviser to the OPEC member country’s President Goodluck Jonathan.

    During a presidential pardon last year, some militants operating in the area exchanged their arms for some monetary compensation promising to stop their activities.

    Since 2006, militants in the Niger Delta region have attacked oil installations, kidnapped oil workers and fought government troops requesting for the control of the resources in the area.

    Their attack reduced oil production considerably making the country which is the highest oil supplier in Africa to trail behind Angola but Nigeria regained its place after the amnesty programme.