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Who Are the Militants Attacking Nigeria’s Oil Industry? Q & A

  • Niger Delta Avengers claim responsibility for pipeline attacks
  • Militants seek regional autonomy, bigger share of oil revenue
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Photographer: George Osodi/Bloomberg

Attacks on pipelines in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta region have slashed crude output to the lowest level in 27 years and shut all but four of the country’s 23 gas-powered generators, leaving much of the West African nation without electricity. A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility. Here’s what the conflict is about:

The attacks started in February after President Muhammadu Buhari, who won an election last year on an anti-graft campaign, ended contracts to protect oil facilities with militant commanders and slashed monthly stipends paid to fighters that the previous government approved to end a similar uprising in 2009. The violence is “a response to the current policy position of the present government to fight corruption,” said Anyakwee Nsirimovu, who helped draft the terms of the amnesty and is the executive director of the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, a nonprofit group based in the southern oil center of Port Harcourt.