In the latest deadly attack in the restive Niger Delta, militants have killed three soldiers in an ambush in one of Nigeria’s oil state, Bayelsa, local media reported on Tuesday.
The attack took place on Monday morning at a military checkpoint, which has been standing at the entrance of the Nembe community since militancy in the Niger Delta started.
Reports have it that residents of the area were fleeing in fear of a reprisal attack by the military.
Since the beginning of the year, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militants have claimed a series of attacks on oil infrastructure and facilities in the Niger Delta.
The attacks have dragged Nigeria’s daily crude production down by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to figures by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The country’s oil output is currently 1.5 million bpd compared to what would be a regular production of 2.2 million bpd. Some traders estimate that the current output may be even lower, at some 1.3 million bpd.
The NDA have claimed most of the recent sabotages at oil facilities. The militant group, which has vowed not to allow the export of even “one litre of crude in the Niger Delta,” has been targeting pipelines belonging to NNPC and foreign oil majors Shell, Eni and Chevron.
By May this year, the increasingly frequent attacks had cut such a significant portion of Nigeria’s oil output that it caused a rally in global oil prices.
Most recently, Nigerian’s government has opted to resume making payments to the former militants as part of a plan to halt armed attacks against oil industry facilities in the Niger Delta region. Officials last February halted the payments to the ex-rebels who, in 2009, had pledged to stop their offensive against the oil infrastructure in exchange for benefits. The government had cut the payment off after a recent spate of attacks on oil pipelines.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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