The environment continues to suffer in the Niger Delta, after militants resisting a government crackdown on corruption and extortion expanded their attacks with a strike on an underwater pipeline.
“Unknown militants—probably using divers—hit a Shell underwater pipeline last month, interrupting oil flows and forcing the company to shut down its 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal for weeks,” Reuters reports. The attack marked a new level of sophistication from previous breaches of small overland pipelines or flow stations in remote, mosquito-infested creeks, and cut Nigeria’s crude output by 15%.
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It also dealt a setback to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to review a fraud-ridden amnesty program for former separatist militants, instituted in 2009 and implemented largely by the man Buhari defeated in elections last year, Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari is also beset by the falling price of crude and a jihadist insurgency in his country’s north. Attacks on Delta oil installations have increased since he took office.
“Buhari has vowed to end overpriced state contracts and crude theft,” Laessing writes. “But in the Delta, many ex-fighters see a campaign by mainly Muslim northerners, like the president, against the Christian south. The government denies any such motive.”
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