Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby-trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call to return home

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google rivals Amazon with delivery drone tests

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

Africa

Rebel group claims unprecedented attack on Lagos oil jetty

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-13

Nigeria's main rebel group, which has been targeting oil facilities in the southern Niger Delta, claimed responsibility late Sunday for an unprecedented strike on an oil jetty in Lagos, the country's economic hub.

AFP - Nigeria's main rebel group, which has targeted oil facilities in the south, claimed responsibility for an audacious late Sunday strike on an oil jetty in Lagos in its first attack in the country's economic heart.
  
"Heavily armed MEND fighters today, Sunday, July 12, 2009, at about 2230 hours (2130 GMT) carried out an unprecedented attack on the Atlas Cove Jetty," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in a statement.
  
"The depot and loading tankers moored at the facility are currently on fire," it said of the facility, located in the Lagos harbour area.
  
Residents of the capital, including AFP correspondents heard a loud explosion reverberating across the bustling, sprawling city of around 16 million people.


  
Atlas Cove Jetty is the first point of contact for vessels as they enter  Nigerian territorial waters from the west. Oil tankers are loaded here.
  
There was no immediate confirmation from police or government authorities.
  
The attack comes just hours before treason charges against a top MEND leader are expected to be dropped at a court hearing on Monday as part of a government amnesty deal offered to rebels.
  
Lawyers for MEND leader Henry Okah and top government officials agreed on the unscheduled hearing at a meeting Sunday, Okah's lawyer Femi Falana told AFP.
  
The release of Okah, incarcerated since September 2007 for gun-running and was facing treason charges, has been one of the rebels' main key demands.
  
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua on June 25 declared an unconditional pardon for militants in the restive Niger Delta, if they "surrender their weapons and renounce militancy." The amnesty offer is vailed until October 4.
  
Violence in the southern region of the world's eight largest exporter of crude oil has cut output by more than 30 percent over the past three-and-a-half years.
  
Apart from attacks on oil installations and facilities in the Niger Delta, hundreds of oil workers -- foreign and local -- have been kidnapped in recent years. Most were freed unharmed after days, weeks or even months.
  
The rebels who launched an armed rebellion, or so-called "oil war" in the swamps and creeks of oil-rich southern Nigeria in 2006, say they will cripple the oil industry until locals get a more equitable share of the oil wealth.
  
The group adopted a pugnacious tone on Sunday, replete with Biblical references.
  
"The problems facing our dear country Nigeria has nothing to do with militant freedom fighters but with the corrupt political leadership," it said.
  
"The two-pronged approach of combining dialogue and intensifying attacks throughout the course of negotiations, will be the unique characteristics of Moses," MEND said, referring to its Lagos attack, which it calls 'Hurricane Moses.'
  
"We want to assure our people and well wishers that we will not sell our birthright for a bowl of porridge," it said.
  
"The mother of all plagues will be used as a last resort if the Nigerian Pharaohs show stubbornness over reasoning ..." it said, without elaborating.
  
"We sincerely hope for the sake of avoiding a total calamity that Egypt (the Nigerian government) will nor harden its heart," it added.
  
The state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has painted a grim picture of the fallout of the violence, saying monthly oil revenue this year dropped to around one billion dollars from an average of 2.2 billion dollars in 2008.
  
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, relies on oil for more than 90 percent of its export earnings, but its foreign exchange reserves have plummeted by about 10 billion dollars in six months to 43.19 billion dollars in early June.

Date created : 2009-07-13

COMMENT(S)