Thursday, May 04, 2006

MEND Says It's Not Behind Attacks On ExxonMobil

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND, which is a strange name for an organization that does little but destroy) today disclaimed responsibility for attacks on ExxonMobil facilities in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta region where most production has been suspended since Wednesday, the Dow Jones news agency reported.

Here is the latest on those attacks, which the agency says were committed by unidentified "youths":

LAGOS (Dow Jones) -- Militants belonging to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have dissociated themselves from recent attacks on facilities belonging to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a unit of ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM).

"We were not involved in the so-called attacks," MEND said Thursday in an email to Dow Jones Newswires. "By now it should be clear that when we attack, a confirmation from this site is just a formality."

Youths in Ebeno, a community in Eket in southern Nigeria, attacked Mobil's Qua Iboe Terminal Tuesday, forcing the company to temporarily halt operations there.

ExxonMobil has been running skeletal services since Wednesday. "It means that if previously you had 500 people working there, now you have just 10% of that," an oil industry union leader said.

He said the management of ExxonMobil wanted to establish what the motives behind the attack were through ongoing talks with leaders of Ebeno before workers would be allowed to return.

Previously, MEND had threatened to attack ExxonMobil over the company's alleged failure to pay compensation for an oil spill it caused in 1998 in an Ijaw community.

MEND claimed responsibility for two recent bomb blasts in the Niger Delta. The first, at a military base in Port Harcourt, killed three people in a car and wounded others. The latest, which occurred Saturday in Warri, also involved a car parked near gasoline tankers waiting to take delivery of products from the Warri Refinery.

-By Vincent Nwanma, Dow Jones Newswires; +234-1-585-0849;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-04-06 1112ET
11:12 050406

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