Nigerian militant group claims attack on oil pipeline
A Nigerian militant group in the Niger Delta claimed it attacked and destroyed an oil pipeline in the president's Bayelsa home state, a week ahead of next Saturday's governorship elections there.
"On Saturday the 4th of February at 1930hrs (1830 GMT), fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) attacked and destroyed the Agip trunk line at brass in Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria," it said in a statement.
The armed group said the "relatively insignificant attack" was to indicate its presence in the oil-rich Niger region and "a sign of things to come".
The MEND statement came several months after it suspended its attacks on oil installations and workers in the region.
The statement gave no details as to the extent of the damage to the pipeline operated by Agip, the local subsidiary of Italian oil group Eni.
Nor was there any independent confirmation of the group's claim, with no immediate reaction from Agip.
The gubernatorial elections are scheduled to be held in the state on Saturday.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday led his ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) at a rally in state capital Yenagoa on Friday, when he publicly criticised the immediate past administration in the state.
During that rally, attended by key party chieftains, Jonathan presented the party's new gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming poll and criticised what he said was the poor performance, of ex-governor Timipre Sylva.
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