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Port Harcourt: MEND Claims Responsibility For Refinery Explosion

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 19, (THEWILL) â€' The outlawed Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Monday, said it was behind the Sunday explosion at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Refinery Jetty pipelines in Okrika, Rivers State.

NNPC's spokesman, Ralph Ugwu, however disclosed that the explosion did not damage refinery installations and had no impact on the refinery's operations.

'The explosion has nothing to do with the NNPC or the refinery but with some people who came to steal crude,' Ugwu said.

The explosion which claimed the lives of about seven persons jostled residents of the city though local sources said the explosion was caused by oil pipelines vandals trying to steal crude oil.

In claiming responsibility for the explosion however, MEND said a small group of its fighters aided by moles in NNPC sabotaged the facility because of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme which it described as a failed project, saying it was only designed to enrich just a few in the Niger Delta.

According to MEND, the attack is in furtherance of its 'Hurricane Exodus' which is targeted at oil installations in the Niger Delta.

MEND, it would be recalled, had persistently attacked oil facility in the Niger Delta to discredit the Federal Government Amnesty Programme.

In a statement issued by its traditional spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND said; 'The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) takes responsibility for the sabotage on Sunday, 18 May, 2014, on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Refinery Jetty pipelines in Okrika, Rivers State of Nigeria.

'This attack is line with our on-going operation 'Hurricane Exodus', which was intended to bring down the entire refining facility.

'This facility was infiltrated by a few of our fighters with the aid of our internal agents within the NNPC contrary to speculations that the sabotage was carried out by 'pipeline vandals and oil thieves', which is a very convenient phrase used in shielding the truth from the public.

'Thorough investigations will reveal bomb fragments are the same used in the Warri Refinery explosion of Tuesday, 22 October, 2013.

'We will persist with our attacks on the Nigerian oil industry due to the inaction of President Goodluck Jonathan who continues to rely on an unsustainable and fraudulent Niger Delta Amnesty Programme which is only a guise to line the pockets of Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Patience, Jonathans cronies and members of the Amnesty Committee whose sudden wealth remains unchallenged by the Nigerian media.

'The entire Amnesty process is a fraud on the people of Nigeria who are being promised peace in the Niger Delta. In the absence of justice, 'Hurricane Exodus' continues.'