Nigerian Militants Say Three Pipelines Destroyed

Nigerian rebel group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said on Tuesday its fighters had destroyed three major oil pipelines in the delta, where attacks have intensified in the past week.

The group said in an email statement that the Italian oil firm Agip's Brass export terminal had been affected by the incidents. Agip spokesmen could not immediately be reached.

"Today ... at 0100 hours Nigerian time (0000 GMT), fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta attacked and destroyed three major pipelines in Bayelsa State of the Niger Delta," the group said.

"Two of these pipelines were within the territory of Akasa and the third in Brass. They reported an immediate power outage at the Agip Brass terminal on the destruction of the pipeline in Brass," it added.

Asked for further clarification on this, the spokesman said the MEND fighters had noticed a power outage at the Brass terminal immediately after blowing up the pipeline.

"Loss in pressure in that pipeline which possibly could have been feeding the power generating plants as well may have triggered a cut-off device which as a safety measure cut off power and shut down other facilities in the terminal," he said.

The MEND, which demands local control of oil wealth in the impoverished delta in southern Nigeria, was responsible for a string of attacks on oil facilities in Feb. 2006 that shut down
a quarter of Nigerian production.