Originally posted September 27 10:31 p.m. edt
Nigerian Oil Delta Rebels Say ‘War’ Starts Oct 1
Tom Ashby | Lagos | September 27
Reuters – The Nigerian rebel group fighting government troops in the oil-rich Niger delta said on Monday it will launch “all-out war on the Nigerian state” from Oct. 1 and advised all oil companies to shut production by then.
Update: A militia leader who threatened war in the Niger Delta has agreed to a tentative deal to disarm his fighters, but he said he would keep up a political struggle for regional autonomy and a greater share of oil wealth.
Background for this update is in the comments. jnh.
The Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, in a communique issued after a meeting of its central command, also advised all foreigners to leave the delta, which pumps all of Nigeria’s 2.3 million barrels per day production.
background- Nigeria Compilation Thread thread- most recent are on the oil region
The rebel group’s leader, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, accused Royal Dutch Shell, Nigeria’s largest oil producer, and Italy’s Agip, a unit of ENI, of “collaboration with the Nigerian state in acts of genocide against our people.”
Asari said his group would not attack oil installations because it did not want to pollute the delta environment, but foreign oil workers would be targeted.
In New York, crude oil futures jumped 36 cents in electronic trading to the $50 a barrel level, the highest in the 21 years oil futures have traded on the exchange following the announcement from the group.
“Operation Locust Feast will commence on Oct. 1 marking the 44 years of dubious independence of the Nigerian state,” Asari quoted the communique from the group as saying.
The offensive will continue until the government agreed to negotiate self-determination for the Ijaw people, who form a majority in the delta, he said.
The delta violence has so far had a minimal effect on oil production in the world’s seventh largest exporter, but companies fear a repeat of last year’s Ijaw rebellion which forced them briefly to shut 40 percent of production.
“All foreign embassies should withdraw their citizens from the Niger delta until the resolution of the fundamental issues,” he added.
He said the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force would not take responsibility for any harm to foreign nationals and advised the government and embassies to withdraw their citizens.
“That means they have to close their facilities,” he said.
“Anyone who assists the Nigerian state make money in Ijawland (the delta) will be seen as a collaborator and an enemy and will be targeted,” Asari added.