A notorious group of economic saboteurs, the Niger Delta Avengers, on Friday morning said a crude pipeline owned by Italian oil giant, Agip Eni, was destroyed in an overnight explosion.
The group, which claimed responsibility for virtually all major attacks against oil installations across the restive oil-rich region this year, said the incident occurred at about 3:00 a.m.
In a tweet posted on its Twitter page, @NDAvengers, the Avengers wrote: “3:00 a.m. on Friday. Niger Delta Avengers blow (sic) up the Obi Obi Brass trunk line belonging to Agip ENI. It is Agip’s major crude oil line in Bayelsa State.”
Agip Nigeria did not answer or return calls made by our corespondent seeking comment for this story.
The attack is coming three days after the Nigerian government announced that combat troops deployed to the area to rout the militants had been ordered to stand down.
The decision was reached after the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, met with governors from the region, including Delta’s Patrick Okowa and Edo’s Adams Oshiomhole.
The next day, the group dissociated itself from any truce with the government, saying “if the federal government is discussing wth any group, they’re doing that on their own.”
The latest damage to Agip installations followed a series of bombings that rocked Chevron, Shell, NNPC oil and gas installations across the Niger Delta in the last few weeks, including other Agip Eni-operated facilities.
The Avengers said it wanted a sovereign nation for the people of the Niger Delta, calling on the international community to intervene and help compelled the Nigerian government to yield to its demand in order to avoid a situation like Sudan before the southern part of that country finally broke away in 2011.