Indications have emerged that the guerilla operation methods of the new militancy group, Niger Delta Avengers, in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria is giving security agencies a “nightmare”.
The group, which has claimed responsibility for blowing up strategic pipelines and oil installations in the Niger Delta, have waged a campaign to end oil production in the country since February 2015. According to the Delta Avengers, the group has successfully shut down 50% of Nigeria’s oil production and has done so without killing anybody – civilian or soldier.
The Nigerian military has been taking tough against the group promising to crush the group in line with the dictates of President Muhammadu Buhari.
On May 10, 2015, the Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters issued a fire-and-brimstone statement saying that “the military will employ all available means and measures within its rule of engagement to crush any individual or group that engages in the destruction of strategic assets and facilities of the government in the Niger Delta or any other location and they will stand to regret the consequences of their actions”.
The statement which was signed by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar promised that the Nigerian military “will not hesitate to deploy every available resources to deal decisively with any threats to economic lifeline of the nation”.
Information coming in security sources say that the hunt for the Niger Delta Avengers is giving the military “nightmares’.
Last week, troops invaded and laid siege on Oporoza community in Gbaramatu Local Government Area of Delta following a tip off that members of the Delta Avengers were meeting in the community. After hours of a fruitless hunt, the troops left in disappointment.
According to a Daily Trust report, “Their activities have given the law enforcement agents a nightmare as several attempts to fish them out met a brick wall.
“In one of their efforts to fish out the faceless and heavily armed marauders who go by the name, Niger Delta Avengers, the Nigerian Army invaded Oporoza community in Gbaramatu Local Government Area of Delta State in search of the group, believed to be operating from the area.
“Again they ended up hitting a brick wall. The soldiers came at 12.30am and laid siege when residents of the oil rich community were asleep. Six hours later, they left the community without catching a fly.”
Reports from security agencies tasked with tracking down the militants confirm they “are faceless and invisible, hence they come out from their hiding, blow up oil facilities and disappear into thin air” consequently, the military have “become handicapped and gone back to the drawing board for more strategies”.
He said though President Buhari has given a marching order to the military to crush the militants, the challenge of the army is finding the whereabouts of the avengers so as to execute the order of President Buhari.
The militants recently gave a 11 points demands to the federal government, the fulfillment of which will lead to a cessation of their hostilities in the region. Among the Delta Avenger’s request is the independent Niger Delta Republic.
But the army spokesman said their demands are absurd and unreasonable to the federal government of Nigeria as their demands cannot be met by the government of Nigeria.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article had erroneously attributed a Daily Trust quote to Defence Headquarters spokesman. The error is regretted and corrected.