N-Delta Militants blow up Agip Gas Pipeline.
A crude oil pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company NAOC was at the weekend blown up in the swamp area of Ikienghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following a violent clash between rival armed groups over alleged disputed surveillance contract.
The incident, which occurred at about 2am Sunday, according to sources, has provoked panic in the riverside community with many residents fleeing their homes to neighbouring communities.
The latest skirmish is coming on the heels of the call by ex-militants in the Niger Delta under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), on reneged militant groups in the region to stop attacks on oil and gas pipelines to allow President Mohammadu Buhari fulfill his electoral promises to the region.
An indigene of Ikienghenbiri community revealed that the armed groups were locked in struggle for control of the Tebidaba-Brass crude trunk line, which passed through the area.
“The armed men vandalized the pipeline along Azuzuama-Ikienghenbiri axis of the Tebidaba-Brass pipeline with dynamites and also ignited fire on the line. The vandalized point is still on fire,” said a community.
Another source, who simply identified himself as Joseph said: “We understand it is a conflict between two armed groups for access to the crude pipeline, one group claims to be working to safeguard the pipeline and said the other group are vandals, they have been shooting.
“The sound of the gunfire is scaring and there is no sign of the Joint Task Force soldiers who are supposed to be patrolling the area, we have not seen any soldier.”
According to him, the pipeline was set ablaze while the two groups engaged each other in the gun battle adding that there was no way to ascertain if there was any casualty.
A thick ‘cloud of smoke’ had enveloped the community and polluted the atmosphere in the area,” he said.
Col. Isa Ado, Spokesman of the Joint Force, code named Operation Pulo Shield could not be reached as he declined to take his calls but a security source said gunboats have been deployed to the area by authorities of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC.
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