Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Niger Delta Avengers Threatened Buhari With Death Warrant Ahead Of Visit To Oil Region

A rebel group has threatened to kill Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari if he follows through on a planned trip to the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The Niger Delta Avengers warned in a statement Wednesday that they would kill Buhari or any of his representatives if the trip goes as scheduled after the Nigerian military reportedly killed some of their members, International Business Times reports

The revolt in southern Nigeria has gained ground as the military has been busy fighting the Islamic extremist insurgency by Boko Haram in the northeast. Buhari is expected to visit the Delta Thursday, weeks after the Avengers blew up a major Chevron-operated offshore oil platform in the region. The attack partially halted oil production, forcing Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to shut down at least two plants that produce more than 35,000 barrels per day.

"This is Niger Delta Avengers. ... The army will hear from us, you are all monsters but you must pay," said a statement the group released Wednesday. "Buhari do not step your foot in our land because we heard you want to visit Ogoni land. Before coming, you should sign your death warrant because we will kill you. If you don’t come and decide to send representatives, you should also sign their death warrant. Any Niger Delta elder working against our people should also sign their death warrant."

The Niger Delta Avengers are supporters and former rebels of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which was known for attacking pipelines and facilities in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern swampland until a peace deal in 2009. Buhari reportedly upset the rebels after taking office a year ago by ending generous pipeline protection contracts.

“The Avengers may not be a defined group of people, except for a core of maybe 100-150 people or so,” Dirk Steffen, from the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm, told Agence France-Presse.

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