A crude oil delivery line belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company and crossing Afiesere-Iwhrenene communities in Ughelli North Council Area of Delta State has been blown up by suspected militants.
A militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, claimed responsibility for the attack which occurred at about 1am on Tuesday.
The spokesperson for the militant group, Aldo Agbalaja, confirmed the development in a statement sent to our correspondent.
Our correspondent also confirmed the attack from local community sources at Afiesere.
The sources, who were part of the community surveillance team that had gone to search for the spot where the breach occurred, noted that the incident had resulted in a massive spill into farmlands.
One of the sources, who identified himself as Tobore, told our correspondent that the attack was not carried out through detonative devices but rather with saw machine.
According to him, the delivery line had only been reopened for operation last weekend by NPDC officials, after it was bombed some months ago.
As of 5:25pm on Tuesday, the pipeline was still spilling crude into the farms situated around the area.
A military source, who pleaded not to be mentioned, also confirmed the attack to our correspondent.
But the group, called Greenland, threatened further attacks. It disclosed that the Tuesday attack was carried out as part of ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’, a planned series of attacks on oil facilities which it declared earlier.
It said, “As a mark of our faith to totally ground the Nigerian oil economy, the gallant “Opudo” strike forces brought down the Afiesere- Iwhrenene major delivery line in Ughelli North, leading to the UPS/UQCC operated by NPDC/SHORELINES at about 1am today, September 13, 2016.
“The Niger Delta is not a conquered territory and our people have never succumbed to intimidation before, rather we match force with the oppressor’s brutality.
“The Nigerian government should already know that the people of this part are not fools, who will not be able to see when they are being treated with disdain.”
The militant group reiterated its call to those living and working around oil companies within the upland region of the Niger Delta to vacate such premises to avoid being injured during attacks.
Warning that it was running out of patience with such people, the group said, “For the last time, leave these areas if you love your lives.”