Friday, May 15, 2009

No More 'Fun & Games' - Nigeria's MEND declares 'all-out war' in the Niger Delta

Fun & Games you say?

Two years ago, Global Guerrillas:
Sunday, 06 May 2007

JOURNAL: Shell facilities disappear from Niger Delta (UPDATE)

Last year, Shell Oil abandoned facilities that produced 600,000 barrels a day of oil due relentless attacks by the global guerrilla facilitator MEND.

Upon its return to these facilities this month, the company found much of its infrastructure missing. In the area near the Forcados terminal alone, 435 miles of pipeline disappeared (likely disassembled by hand, loaded onto barges, offloaded onto Ukrainian transport ships offshore, and delivered to Chinese scrap metal dealers -- globalization is grand, isn't it).

Estimates of the reconstruction costs now exceed $2 billion, under the assumption both Shell and its construction partners will be allowed to return unimpeded.

That isn't a good bet: 11 Daewoo construction workers working on a power plant deep inland (which shows the guerrillas have more reach than ever) were kidnapped and two assaults were made on off-shore platforms as recently as last week. Further, MEND like its counter-parts in Iraq, are very adept at the disruption of corporate activity.

So far, the returns on its investments (ROIs) have been stellar. [In Full]

More details on events in that time period @ Reuters

MEND offered a ceasefire a little over a year later
Nigeria’s main rebel group, Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), today declared a ceasefire a week after it launched an “oil war” in the country’s restive, oil-producing region.

"Effective 0100 Hrs, September 21, 2008, exactly one week (since) we launched our reprisal, MEND will begin a unilateral ceasefire till further notice," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in a statement.

“After one week of intense lopsided fighting and an unprecedented sabotage on the oil industry prompted by an unprovoked attack on one of our positions including indiscriminate attacks on civilian communities, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) will downgrade the oil war code named Hurricane Barbarossa to a state of alert code named Tropical Storm Vigilant.

“We hope that the military has learnt a bitter lesson. The next unprovoked attack will start another oil war that will be so ferocious that it will dim the pleas of the elders. That blood oil war will come in the form of another hurricane and its devastation and mode of operation will be different from what was seen with Barbarossa.

“MEND can only speak for itself and will not vouch for the other angry groups that aligned with the operation.” [Source]

Fast forward to last month, April 15 2009

[In Full] (article now archived. create an account)

Here and now:

May 15 (2009)

Nigeria's MEND declares 'all-out war' in Niger Delta

LAGOS (AFP) — The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) Friday declared "all-out war" in Nigeria's southern oil region, blaming the security forces for the death of one of their hostages.

The group also alleged the army had deliberated targeted civilians in its latest attacks.

Nigeria's military denied both accusations.

The hostage was killed by a stray army bullet during a clash between MEND's fighters and the Nigerian security forces in the oil-rich region, said a statement from the movement.

"He is a Filipino national," a spokesman for MEND said a statement to AFP.

Earlier Friday, MEND repeated a warning to foreign oil producers to pull out of the region by midnight (2300 GMT) or risk being caught up in increasing violence.

"MEND is declaring an all-out war in the region and calls upon all men of fighting age to enlist for our freedom," the group said in a statement to the media.

"The Nigerian armed forces today launched indiscriminate aerial bombardment on the defenceless civilians in the Gbaramatu region of Delta State," MEND charged.

Oil markets, however, remained largely indifferent to the warning, with two benchmark contracts falling back towards the 58-dollar mark.

MEND has so far provided no further details on the hostage they say was killed.

It has not said if he was part of the group of 15 foreigners held hostage aboard the 'MV Spirit' tanker hijacked on Wednesday.

"One hostage has been killed by stray bullets from the Nigerian army who attacked an area (where) they were being held in Delta state," the MEND said in an earlier email.

A spokesman of the special military unit in the volatile region, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, denied the rebel account of their gun battle with the MEND fighters.

"It is a lie. None of them was killed," he told AFP.

Earlier, he denied accusations that his forces had targeted civilians, and dismissed rebel claims that they had got the better of his men. Operations were still ongoing, he said.

"We did not target civilians in the operation because these are the people we are out to defend and protect," he told AFP.

"Our target is the militants, who are the criminals and we will not stop until they are completely flushed out."

He refused to comment on MEND reports of air attacks, describing the operation as "multi-faceted."

Earlier Friday, Jonjon Oyeinfie, an activist and former ethnic Ijaw youth leader in the region, said a fierce battle was raging along the Warri-Forcados river, with the army deploying 13 gunboats and helicopter gunships.

A Warri resident reported having seen clouds of smoke rising from the Chanomi Creek area in Gbaramatu.

MEND also said it had captured a "warship deployed from Liberia to assist the military... along with its entire crew of officers and ratings" and was in the process of setting it ablaze.

Navy spokesman Commodore David Nabaida dismissed MEND's statement.

"This claim is mere propaganda," he told AFP.

"MEND has no capacity to capture our warship or any of our ships for that matter. Again, we do not have any ship deployed from Liberia to Niger Delta."

The rebel group said it had captured three army gunboats intact and had sunk or destroyed nine others.

"Many soldiers have been killed and the military has made a hasty retreat," the group said.

Major oil companies, including Shell and ExxonMobil, have declined to comment on the threats.

In the past three and a half years MEND has been behind a series of kidnappings of staff and attacks on oil installations.

It says it is fighting for a greater share of the region's vast oil resources.

Unrest in the region means Nigeria last year lost its position as Africa's leading crude exporter, to Angola. Its oil output has fallen by about a quarter since 2006.

Nigeria, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, derives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from crude oil.


A Chronology of the war for the Niger Delta is HERE, from (Current >>> 2008)

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