Armed militants in Nigeria’s Niger Delta on Monday claimed more attacks against facilities run by US oil giant Chevron and warned FIFA against letting the country host the under-17 World Cup tournament.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in an email statement also threatened to extend its operations beyond Delta State to others in the oil-rich southern region.
MEND said they had started a massive fire that destroyed the Abiteye flow station and blew up two other Chevron facilities there early on Monday.
“Hurricane Piper Alpha hit the Abiteye flowstation operated by Chevron today… which resulted in a massive fire outbreak that is consuming the entire facility,” it said in the statement.
MEND vowed to move “into the neighbouring states of Bayelsa and Rivers before passing through the remaining states of Ondo, Edo, and Akwa Ibom then finally head off-shore.”
The group also took “this opportunity to advise FIFA to have a re-think about Nigeria hosting the under-17 World Cup tournament at this time, as the safety of international players and visitors cannot be guaranteed due to the current unrest.”
The tournament is due to run from October 24 to November 15, and Nigeria has scheduled some matches to be played in the restive region.
Before the latest attacks, Nigerian authorities assured FIFA of security during the competition.
The MEND statement also urged people from the Niger Delta region living in northern Nigeria to return home within the next eight weeks.
MEND said it was issuing the warning “because a major event will occur in that part of the country and reprisal attacks directed at them cannot be ruled out.”
It gave the same advice to northern Nigerians living in the Niger Delta.
Overall, the unrest has caused oil production — Nigeria’s main export — to fall by nearly a third, from 2.6 million barrels a day in 2006 to 1.8 million currently.
Nigeria derives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from crude production in the Niger Delta region, according to official figures.
Source: Yahoo News