Tuesday, 16 November 2010
MEND attacks Exxon Mobil facility and kidnaps seven workers
Nigeria's main militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has claimed responsibility for an attack on Exxon Mobil's oil platform in Akwa Ibom state, and the kidnapping of seven Nigerian workers. The US based energy firm said men boarded the offshore facility, operated by its Mobil Producing Nigeria unit in a joint venture with the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), but gave no further details. The attack and subsequent seizure of seven Exxon Mobil employees was confirmed by MEND's spokesman Jomo Gbomo.
In an email to Nigeria authorities, Gbomo said that in the next few weeks, the group intends to, “launch a major operation that will simultaneously affect oil facilities across the Niger delta.” He also said that the oil workers were “taken to prevent the Nigerian government from attributing the damage to this facility to an industrial accident,” further adding that “no amount of military activities will secure the release of these hostages” who shall be released “at our time.”
The Niger Delata region, home to Nigeria's oil and gas industry, has seen a surge of violence since a government amnesty in 2009 led to the disarming of thousands of fighters and a period of relative quiet. Nigerian authorities and security agencies have been informed of the latest attack and “appropriate” response measures are under way said Exxon Mobil in an e-mailed statement.
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters
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