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MEND claims attack in oil-rich Delta

Lagos - Rebels are claiming responsibility for an attack on a security patrol boat on a waterway in Nigeria's southern Bayelsa state.

Fighters from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) raise their rifles to celebrate news of a successful operation by their colleagues against the Nigerian army in the Niger Delta in 2008. File picture: Pius Utomi Ekpei. Credit: AFP

A statement purporting to come from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said late on Sunday the attack, though “insignificant”, is a reminder of the rebel group's presence in the oil-rich delta. It said the Saturday night attacks in the Nembe-Bassanbiri waterways were carried out by new fighters.

The group threatened to reduce Nigerian oil production to zero by 2015.

Analysts believe the militant group has lost much of its operational capability.

Top MEND fighters signed a 2009 deal in which many were paid by the government. Some now provide protection for the international oil companies they used to attack.

But some disgruntled MEND activists threaten continued sabotage.

Sapa-AP

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