WARRI, Nigeria (AP) — Militants bombed a pipeline feeding electricity to Chevron's Escravos terminal Thursday, shutting down the U.S.-based oil major's onshore operations in Nigeria, the attackers and residents said.
It was the third assault on a Chevron Nigeria facility this month. It's the latest in a string of attacks claimed by the Niger Delta Avengers that has brought Nigerian production to a 20-year low and lost the West African nation its position as the continent's biggest oil producer to Angola.
The attack forced Chevron to suspend operations at the terminal exporting more than 160,000 barrels a day, residents said. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from soldiers deployed to halt attacks.
Community leaders meeting Thursday warned the sweeping military campaign has thousands of people fleeing the fallout and will not halt the attacks.
"Zero Chevron," the Avengers, a new group, gloated on social media. "We warned #Chevron but they didn't listen."
The Avengers have ordered all oil companies to leave the southern oil-producing delta by the end of May. They say they want a greater share of Nigeria's oil wealth for delta residents whose fishing and agricultural grounds have been destroyed by oil pollution.
Analysts say the Avengers may be funded by Christian southerners opposed to President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north.
Buhari marks his first year in power Monday beset by crises.