UPDATE 1-Nigeria militants claim attacks on oil facilities

* Militants claim strikes on Chevron, Agip flow stations

* Attacks follow army raids on militant camps

(Adds background and quotes)

By Joe Brock

ABUJA, Dec 18 (BestGrowthStock) – A militant faction in Nigeria’s
oil-producing Niger Delta said on Saturday it was behind attacks
on oil facilities operated by U.S. energy firm Chevron (CVX.N: )
and Italian oil company Agip (ENI.MI: ) on Friday.

The Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF) said in an emailed
statement that it had struck three flow stations in Delta state
using remotely activated bombs.

There was no immediate independent confirmation.

“NDLF has carried out bombings of three oil flow stations in
Delta State to draw government attention to the plight of the
suffering people of Ayakoromo,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, a military task force comprising the
army, navy and air force began raiding and occupying camps
believed to belong to John Togo, the suspected leader of the
NDLF, close to the Ayakoromo communities in Delta.

Nigeria’s army chief of staff said eight soldiers and six
civilians were killed when Togo’s followers fled into Ayakoromo
and then engaged soldiers in a gun fight. [ID:nLDE6BE10I]

The NDLF said it would surrender if the task force withdrew
troops from its camps but the army has said it will continue to
hunt Togo and his followers, who it says are responsible for
violent armed robberies, ambushes and attacks. [ID:nLDE6B50OZ]

“If government is sincere for a dialogue, it should withdraw
the soldiers around Ayakoromo and environs and NDLF will
faithfully comply with its earlier promises of disarmament for
peace to reign,” the statement said.

Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest energy industry but its
oil and gas output has been held back for years by strikes on
pipelines and infrastructure by military groups who say they are
fighting for a more even distribution of the oil wealth.

The line between militancy and crime is blurred.

Gang leaders have grown rich on the spoils of kidnapping for
ransom and the theft of industrial quantities of oil.

At its peak almost four years ago, violence knocked out more
than a quarter of the OPEC member’s crude production, but an
amnesty brokered last year by President Goodluck Jonathan
brought more than a year without attacks.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude exporter and, despite a
resurgence in militant attacks in the last two months, it
continues to produce more than 2 million barrels per day.
(Additional reporting by Nick Tattersall, Samuel Tife and
Austin Ekeinde; Editing by Alison Williams)

UPDATE 1-Nigeria militants claim attacks on oil facilities