Lagos: A newly emerged armed group has said it had made good on threats to Nigeria's vital oil industry by blowing up a major pipeline and warned that more attacks were to come.
The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) said in a statement late Wednesday they had shown they were "men of (their) word" by destroying part of the Urhobo pipeline in Delta State on Tuesday.
The creation of the group was announced scarcely two days earlier by its spokesman, self-proclaimed "General" Aldo Agbalaja, who warned that the NDGJM would strike at oil installations within 48 hours.
A security source confirmed an attack using dynamite on the Uzere-Eriemu line in the Isoko South area of Delta State.
Communities near the pipeline, which is owned by the state-run Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), are suffering from pollution caused by leaking oil, the source added.
"We started noticing crude oil on our land only to be told that it is as a result of crude oil spill from a trunk line conveying crude from Isoko to the Eriemu manifold," said Victor Emuherie, leader of a youth movement in the affected village of Agbarha-Otor.
The populous Niger Delta region on the Gulf of Guinea has for decades seen attacks by local militants on oil installations run by the NPDC and by foreign oil giants, causing successive governments to deploy troops.
The NDGJM warned that Tuesday's attack was only a foretaste of its activities to come and urged multinational companies "to evacuate their personnel".
The government last week resumed payments of allowances to former fighters under an amnesty scheme notably concerning ex-rebels of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
MEND is a historic armed movement demanding reparations and a fair share of oil revenue for residents of the Niger Delta, which has seen spin-offs by radicals who want independence for the region and refuse to recognise Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner, as president.
Attacks by another group, the Niger Delta Avengers, have led to a sharp fall in oil production since the start of the year in a country already hit by tumbling prices for crude, which accounts for 70 percent of state revenue....