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The Niger Delta Avengers and its affiliates are not the only troublemakers for the Nigerian government in its oil-producing regions: the FARS new agency reported on Wednesday that the military would begin attacking Boko Haram sites in the Sambisa forest and illegal oil refineries in the Niger Delta.
Operation Forest Storm will last for an unspecified number of days and wipe out the terrorist group Boko Haram in the northeastern part of the country, according to military officials.
The operation will target oil refineries and barges along the Niger River.
A related operation, called Delta Safe, authorized air strikes in areas where the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) are known to operate.
The NDA - who claim to fight for socioeconomic equality rather than religious causes – agreed to a ceasefire against further attacks earlier this summer, but the group bombed a Bonny crude pipeline at the end of last month.
According to the NDA, the pipeline was bombed in response to government attempts of “over dramatization of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.”
The group said in a statement that the government will have to work harder to convince them it has the best interests of the Delta communities at heart during the negotiations.
“We cannot be continuously fooled, the government cannot justify the indiscriminate targeting of Niger Delta youths while glorifying on these victimization of law abiding citizens of the region,” the group said.
Despite the tense military climate, Chinese officials said they would consider investments in the West African country’s petroleum industry.
“We are having a team of over 40 Chinese ... visiting Nigeria by the end of this month,” Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Wednesday.
Nigeria sued the local Shell subsidiary this week for $407 million – the amount the country claims the company has underpaid to the government.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…