Niger Delta Avengers have denied being behind the attack on crude oil pipeline on the outskirts of Warri, Delta State operated by a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday.
The militant group which has claimed responsibility for spate of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the southern region in the last few months, briefly cutting the country’s oil production to 30-year lows was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying it was not being behind the current attack.
“That’s not NDA,” the group said Reuters reported that the group said in an e mail to it on Monday.
While confirming the attack, Ogugu Dickson, Chairman, Batan Community said two blasts were heard on the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) line on Sunday night while a security source also said there had been blasts in the town of Batan.
“This morning I and some PPMC workers, and security agents, were at the site. All we could see was a huge bubble (of oil) on the surface of the river,” Dickson said.
NDA has attacked facilities in the same area some in the past few months.
No other group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, the NDA has also denied claims by Solomon Dalung, Nigeria’s Minister of Youth and Sport Development that he met with some of their members.
“Any meeting with Niger Delta Avengers that the International communities are not part of to witness, we (Niger Delta Avengers) will not be part of,” the group said on its website.
Federal Government said it has initiated dialogue with militants and Delta community leaders in a bid to stop the attacks on oil pipelines.
Last month, there were reports that the militants have agreed to a month-long ceasefire, but NDA denied the claim.
However, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a group of former militants on Sunday reiterated its readiness to participate in talks with the government.
The group said one of its former commanders – Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo – who is currently wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on corruption charges should be part of the talks.
Some analysts have linked the current wave of attacks to a warrant issued for Tompolo’s arrest over corruption charges, though the MEND leader has consistently denied the claims.
Nevertheless, MEND also said it would be counter-productive if the government ignored such an individual who might be capable of talking to the militants about a ceasefire and called for the charges against him to be suspended.
Reuters however reported that a government source said that no formal request had been received from MEND on the talks or on suspending the charges.
With Reuters report