Warri, June 16 — THERE are indications that operations of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) in the Niger-Delta are under serious threat of being grounded, following the onslaught from militants who have blown up several of its facilities in the last few days, even as the company insists that output remains unaffected.
All through yesterday, there was fresh apprehension in the Niger-Delta, as MEND fighters, despite the claim by the JTF that it was on top of the situation, struck again at about 1:40am yesterday, destroying a pipeline at the Abiteye flow station, operated by the Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
The militants, in their dozens, engaged the security operatives in a heavy gun duel that lasted several hours before they were repelled.
Confirming the attack, the JTF Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Colonel Rabe Abubakar said "the hoodlums were over-powered by our troops and forced to flee in disarray with various degree of gun shot wounds while there was no casualty on our side and the facility was secured".
He however declined to confirm the arrest or death of four of the militants.
Witnesses at Abiteye told Vanguard that there was heavy shooting and the facility was actually blown up against the JTF claim, though the facility remains in the control of the JTF operatives now guarding the flow station.
In a message, Femi Odumabo, Chevron's General Manager in charge of government and public affairs confirmed that the Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye pipeline was breached and Makaraba Jacket 5 on fire as at Friday night, adding that efforts to contain the fire was in progress.
"The facilities were shut in prior to the incident. All personnel are safe. The safety of our workforce, both employees and contractors, remains our highest priority," Odumabo said.
Meanwhile, Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC, have been deployed in Warri to ensure peace in the oil city.
Four of the new state-of-the-art APCs were seen patrolling the major roads of Warri and its environs yesterday, blaring sirens giving signals to would-be trouble makers to give peace a chance.
Col. Abubakar told Vanguard that the armoured personnel carriers were on patrol to ensure security and not intended to intimidate or harass anyone.
In a statement, MEND disclosed that its current war against the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger-Delta and devastation of oil facilities dubbed, "Hurricane Piper Alpha" would move to five more states -- Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo, Edo and Akwa-Ibom.
All through yesterday, there was fresh apprehension in the Niger-Delta over the development, particularly as MEND fighters, despite the claim by the JTF that it was on top of the situation, struck again at about 2.00 am, yesterday, destroying a pipeline at the Abiteye flow station, operated by the Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
Minutes after the militants destroyed a pipeline in the Abiteye flow station, the militants struck again, blowing up the Abiteye Jacket 1 & 11 facilities belonging to Chevron Nigeria Ltd with explosives.
The facilities were still on fire yesterday morning and a source who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity said, "With the way things are going, Chevron would be grounded in the next one month or more.
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