Nigerian oil militants threaten attack on independence day

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), an umbrella group for Nigeria’s oil militants, has threatened to attack a Chevron facility in the oil producing Niger Delta region on this year’s independence day, to be observed 1 Oct.

‘We use this medium to advise workers at the Chevron Tank Farm in Escravos to evacuate the premises as mortar attacks are imminent on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 from 00:01Hrs Nigerian time,’ the group said in a statement emailed to journalists by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, Wednesday.

It said the attack would be in continuation of an operation it has code named ‘Hurricane Exodus’, which it said was aimed at reducing the country’s oil production.

MEND, which once reduced the country’s oil production by one third through attacks on oil facilities and personnel, has since become less effective, after many of its commanders embraced the government’s amnesty programme and renounced violence.

The man believed to be the leader of the group, Henry Okah, has been jailed for 24 years in South Africa over the twin bomb attacks that disrupted Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary celebration in the capital city of Abuja on 1 Oct. 2010.

The attack, which was claimed by MEND, also left 12 persons dead and many more injured.

Among MEND’s new demands are the release of Okah ‘and other innocent persons set up as scapegoats and held over the October 01, 2010 twin car bombings in Abuja’ as well as the sack of Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke.