LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigerian militants who have attacked oil facilities and kidnapped workers in the southern Niger Delta threatened on Tuesday to use more aggressive tactics against oil workers and their families from February 1.
In an email statement, the group known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta also said it would carry out a series of attacks over the next few days “to prove to all companies that we alone, your hosts can guarantee security.”
“With effect from February 1 2006 we will commence more aggressive tactics aimed at oil company workers and their families in the Niger Delta,” the statement said.
“Our operations will shift from the creeks into the cities where we will grind the Nigerian economy to a halt,” it said, adding that oil workers should leave the delta, which pumps almost all of Nigeria’s 2.4 million barrels a day of oil.
Four foreign oil worker hostages spoke to Reuters by telephone on their sixth day in captivity on Monday, listing their captors’ demands and warning the military against any attempted intervention or rescue.
They gave a 48-hour ultimatum and called on the Nigerian government to negotiate.
Royal Dutch Shell evacuated about 330 workers from four oil flow stations after a deadly attack on Sunday, and is considering pulling more staff out amid uncertainty over where the militants will strike next, a senior oil industry official said.