A militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta area has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack at an oil pipeline. The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) said they bombed a Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, offshore Export Pipeline at Escravos, in the Delta State, at about 3.45 am on 25 October.
"This action is to further warn all IOCs [International Oil Companies] that when we warn that there should be no repairs pending negotiation/dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta, it means there should be no repairs," the group said in a statement.
"Ant attempt to use dialogue to distract us so as to allow the free flow of our oil will halt the dialogue process."
The latest attack came weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari announced the Nigerian government and oil companies in the country were seeking to make contact with leaders of militant groups in the Delta.
Attacks blamed on the (NDA) , which emerged earlier this year, have brought Nigeria's oil production to a 30-year low. The group, which says it fights to end disenfranchisement of impoverished communities in the Delta and obtain greater shares of oil revenues, vowed to bring the country's oil production down "to zero".
In September, vice-president Yemi Osinbajo claimed the country now loses over one million barrels of crude oil on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, South Africa regained the title of Africa's largest economy, a position held by Nigeria for the past two years.
In August, the government and militant groups in the volatile Delta agreed on a month-long ceasefire. After repeatedly discrediting government claims that a ceasefire had been reached, the NDA reportedly agreed to a truce in August. However, the group has since resumed attacks.
Birth of militants in Niger Delta
Militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region took hold in the early 2000s following the deterioration of living conditions blamed on the increase of oil-related activities by foreign corporations. Tensions flared up in local communities as some ethnic groups felt they were being exploited and did not benefit from the crude oil on their land.
The repeated oil spills that considerably damaged the environment and hit people's health further deepened communities' frustrations. After being elected in 2015, Buhari extended a 2009 amnesty granted to 30,000 former militants in the area.