The Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, claimed it struck in the early hours of Saturday in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. This came weeks after it called-off what it described as planned attacks on mosques and related institutions over the bombings and killing of southerners in the North by Boko Haram insurgents.
The militant group said it secretly attached portable military limpet explosives on two articulated petrol tanker vehicles outside the NNPC depot in Abaji, Abuja, at about 5.00 am and detonated the devices.
Although the claim could not be immediately verified, the media manager of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidy of the NNPC, Nasir Imodagbe, denied the bombing claim.
In an electronic mail statement by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, MEND stated that its field operatives carried out the purported Abuja explosion on two oil tankers, demanding, among other things, the release of its leader, Henry Okah, and his brother, Charles, both of whom, they alleged, were set up as scapegoats by the Federal Government on the October 1, 2010 bombings in Abuja.
“Hurricane Exodus’ resumed at about 00:05hrs on Saturday, June 15, 2013, when field operatives from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) stealthily attached portable military limpet explosives magnetically to two (2) articulated tanker vehicles laden with petrol in a queue outside the NNPC depot in Abaji, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
“The devices were timed to detonate simultaneously several seconds later. The outcome was predictable. This segment of Exodus codenamed, ‘Operation Touch and Go’, is targeted at the soft underbelly (downstream sector) of the oil industry in Nigeria.
“From today (yesterday), every tanker vehicle we find distributing petroleum products, including propane gas, has become a legitimate target in our war against injustice, corruption, despotism and oppression. Drivers of tanker vehicles continue to drive them at their own risk.”
“The public is hereby advised to maintain a safe distance from such vehicles as they can explode anytime and anywhere. Harassment on these tanker vehicles would be sustained until the following demands are met:
-Henry Okah, his brother, Charles, and other innocent persons set up as scapegoats and held over the October 01, 2010 twin car bombings in Abuja be released unconditionally.
-That an unreserved apology be tendered by the Nigerian government to MEND for presenting a forged email letter threatening the South African government purported to have originated from us and used as evidence in the sham trial and conviction of Henry Okah.
-That a separate independent body outside Nigeria investigates the forged letter so as to ascertain its authenticity and make their findings public.
-That since our struggle has never been about a Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, nor about been beneficiaries of dubious pipeline protection contracts and other forms of bribery, a conference to address the injustice, underdevelopment, environmental degradation and outstanding root issues confronting the Niger Delta region must be fixed to hold within three (3) months,” the group said.