ABUJA, Nigeria, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Attacks on Nigerian oil production will be used to drive energy companies from the Niger Delta, a militant group said.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta took responsibility for an attack on an oil pipeline operated by Italian energy company Eni. MEND, in a statement published by Nigerian news agency Vanguard, said the disruption of around 4,000 barrels of oil per day was a warning of things to come.
"This relatively insignificant attack is a reminder of our presence in the creeks of the Niger Delta and a sign of things to come," MEND said. "Our silence thus far has been strategic and, at the right time, we will reduce Nigerian oil production to zero and drive off our land thieving oil companies."
MEND leader Henry Okah is under arrest in South Africa. The group, in its latest statement, blamed the South African government for interfering in state affairs.
MEND added that it recognized Nigeria relies heavily on oil revenue but said the "floundering government of Nigeria is more concerned with enriching themselves than attending to the problems of the Niger Delta and the continuously depreciating standard of living of the ordinary Nigerian."
Nigeria is trying to cope with a threat from domestic insurgent group Boko Haram, which seeks an Islamic state in a country divided largely along Christian and Muslim lines.