Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has said it will start a bombing campaign against mosques and Islamic institutions, a week after the rebel group said it killed 15 security personnel in the southern oil-producing Bayelsa state.
“The bombings of mosques, haj camps, Islamic institutions, large congregations in Islamic events and assassinations of clerics that propagate doctrines of hate will form the core mission of this crusade,” MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement today. The campaign, codenamed “Barbarossa,” will start May 31, it said.
MEND may consider a cease-fire if the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Catholic Church and the group’s suspected leader Henry Okah intervene, according to the statement. The threat comes as the government of President Goodluck Jonathan battles Islamist militants in the mainly Muslim north and the capital, Abuja, in which hundreds of people have died since 2009.
MEND, the main rebel group in the the area, destroyed a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) oil well in Nembe in southern Bayelsa state yesterday as part of an operation it calls “Hurricane Exodus,” Gbomo said.
Precious Okolobo, a Lagos-based spokesman for Shell’s Nigerian unit, said he couldn’t confirm the attack when contacted by phone today.