Nigerian militants attacked a gas plant operated by Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta on Saturday and warned of more attacks to come.
A spokesman for Shell in Nigeria confirmed the attack and said one employee of its SPDC joint venture and two contractors had been hurt but were in a stable condition.
MEND, whose attacks in the Niger Delta have shut down more than a fifth of Nigeria’s crude oil output over the past three years, called off a five-month-old ceasefire a week ago. It had warned it would strike in Rivers state further east.
“MEND decided on this location (Utorogu) to dispel the false sense of peace and security in Delta state which the governor has been boasting about,” it said in an emailed statement.
“It is also to send a message to the oil companies that all the pipelines they have repaired in the western Delta will soon be in need of repairs again.”
During early 2006 and 2007, militant attacks on industry installations focused on the Niger Delta’s western states of Delta and Bayelsa. A significant amount of oil production in the western delta remains shut down because of the sabotage.
More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta since MEND launched its campaign of attacks three years ago, most of them released unharmed.
A nine-year-old Nigerian boy whose father works for Shell was also freed on Friday, a week after gunmen kidnapped him and killed his 11-year old sister as they walked to school.
MEND warned a week ago of a “sweeping assault” on Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, the biggest in Africa.