Militants claim attack on NPDC oil pipeline in Niger Delta

September 19, 2016 1:25 PM EDT

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ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Militants have blown up a crude oil pipeline operated by Nigeria's state oil firm NNPC in the Niger Delta, a group claiming responsibility for the attack and a youth leader said on Monday.

The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate group said it carried out the attack on the Afiesere-Ekiugbo delivery line, in the town of Ughelli in Delta state, on Sunday night at around 11:30 p.m. (6.30 p.m. ET). The line is operated by NPDC, a unit of NNPC, and Nigerian energy company Shoreline.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on energy facilities in the restive region that have cut Nigeria's oil production by 700,000 bpd.

"The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is just starting, you are yet to see what we are about," said the group which, unlike other militants in the region, is not taking part in a ceasefire to hold talks with the government.

Lucky Solue, a youth leader, confirmed the attack took place. An NNPC spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

There was no immediate information on any impact on production.

The Niger Delta Avengers group, whose attacks on oil pipelines in the southern region crippled crude output earlier this year and pushed Africa's biggest economy into recession, said in August it agreed to a ceasefire.

The government has held out the prospect of holding talks on the grievances of people in the Delta with militant groups that maintain a truce.

(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu and Tife Owolabi; Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by Susan Thomas)



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