LAGOS (AFP) — The most prominent armed group in southern Nigeria has claimed responsibility for a dynamite attack Monday night on the convoy of a port authority official in Nigeria's oil hub city Port Harcourt.
"Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) ... volunteers, answering the call to fight against injustice and oppression in the Niger Delta, carried out the attack on the convoy of a general manager with the Nigeria Ports Authority in Port Harcourt," the group said Tuesday in an email.
Sotoye Etomi's convoy was attacked with dynamite after it dropped him off. The attack left the driver of the pilot vehicle and two police escorts dead.
Etomi had appeared on a local television channel saying that a fire Friday on a tanker ship berthed in Port Harcourt was caused by a "marine accident".
MEND had insisted it had set the tanker ship ablaze using an explosive device.
The MEND email said that Monday night's attack on Etomi's convoy "was meant to show that nothing happens by accident in the Niger Delta, including the bomb explosion on the oil tanker vessel".
"The government wants to deceive the world that it can guarantee security and peace in the region. Foreign investors should take a prudent cue from A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, ... which has stopped its vessels from calling at Nigerian ports until normalcy returns," MEND continued.
MEND, which claims to be fighting for a fairer share of the Niger Delta's hydrocarbons to go to local communities, again criticised the behaviour of the troops responsible for policing the Niger Delta, accusing them of "theft, extra-judicial killings, rape and brutality against civilians".
The group warned it intends to step up its campaign of violence, saying attacks would "soon become a daily occurrence".
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