MEND: Oil Companies in For 'Raw Deal,' Pipeline Sabotaged

On the morning of April 18, a new chapter was issued in the series of MEND kidnappings, takeovers and sabotages that have rocked the oil and gas industry in the Niger Delta. Claims of pipeline sabotage have surfaced from Nigeria's southeast region as reports of an explosion are being investigated by Shell.

The explosion was reported in the Cawthorne Channel area of the Niger Delta, which is where a Bonny Light crude oil shipping facility is located. The alleged sabotaged pipeline is located at Adamakiri, also in the Cawthorne area.

According to local news reports, MEND operatives claim to have attacked the pipeline overnight.

The MEND claims of sabotage and the reports of the explosion come on the day that MEND has stated it will proffer explosives to local communities to help fight against what it considers an encroachment by oil and gas companies on Niger Delta communities.

In a statement, a MEND representative writing under a pseudonym, Jomo Gbomo, stated that oil companies operating in the region are "in for a raw deal" because "the military is not in a position to protect them." The statement claims that attacks have been increased and will continue to rise.

"We have decided to step up our attacks ahead of schedule and there will be many more to follow," MEND has said.

Dow Jones has underscored the danger of such warnings, "Previous warnings Gbomo has made to the media have proven accurate."

An attack on a Chevron oil facility April 16 was reportedly master-minded by MEND forces who provided logistics and arms to the fighters. Although MEND claimed the attack was a "success," local reports indicate that Nigeria's military fought off the attack.

At press time, Shell had no comment on the attacks, nor did it provide further comments on the investigation.

The joint venture operation includes Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Total SA and Agip.

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