Niger: authorities confirm “sabotage” of part of an oil pipeline by rebels

Niger: authorities confirm “sabotage” of part of an oil pipeline by rebels

Nigerien authorities have confirmed the “sabotage” claimed by a rebel movement of part of an oil pipeline carrying crude oil to Benin.

On the night of June 16 to 17, “malicious individuals sabotaged part of the pipeline in the department of Tesker (central-east)”, public television Télé Sahel said in a report on Friday evening.

“We have already gathered information and clues about the alleged perpetrators” And “all those who contributed will be arrested and judged in accordance with their terrorist act”, declared the governor of the Zinder region, Colonel Issoufou Labo, who visited the scene of the attack.

“We know which group is responsible for the act (which it also claimed)” explained Ousmane Baydo, the public prosecutor near the Zinder counter-terrorism judicial center who opened an investigation.

The tone has gone up a notch between Benin and Niger

Monday June 17, the Patriotic Liberation Front (FPL), a rebel movement fighting for the release of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, overthrown by a coup in July and detained since, claimed responsibility for an attack that “out of use”, “a significant section” of the pipeline carrying crude oil to Benin.

The FPL was created in August 2023 after the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military on July 26, who detained him.

Its leader, Mahamoud Sallah then declared that he had taken up arms to demand ” the Liberation “ of the deposed president and had threatened “to blow up installations” notably “oil”.

“This act of sabotage and vandalism” has “damaged the pipeline” and led to a leak of crude oil, said Télé Sahel, which showed images of an oil spill spreading “over more than 370 meters” in the middle of the bush.

In these images, we see numerous dead birds and a large area of ​​vegetation buried by the oil spill.

The pipeline is also threatened by other violence: six Nigerien soldiers responsible for monitoring it were killed in an attack on June 12.

Nearly 2,000 km long, it must transport oil from Agadem (north-eastern Niger) to the port of Sèmè-Kpodji in Benin.

This oil is essential for the economies of the two countries, which work with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) – an oil company owned by the Chinese state – and the Chinese company Wapco.

But this oil pipeline is also at the heart of a diplomatic quarrel between Niger and Benin, whose relations have been particularly tense since the coup d’état.

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