Three soldiers were killed when gunmen on a speedboat opened fire on a military base in Southern Ijaw district of Nigeria's Bayelsa state on May 9. The soliders were part of Operation Pulo Shield, mobilized to protect oil operations in the Niger Delta region. No group has claimed responsibility for the slayings, but a new militant organization, the Niger Delta Avengers, has claimed a string of attacks on oil infrastructure in the region in recent weeks. Targets have included a Shell facility in Forcados, a Chevron platform in Abiteye, and pipelines transporting oil to the Warri and Kaduna refineries. The Avengers have pledged to contine the attacks, prompting Royal Dutch Shell to evacuate most of its staff from its Eja OML 79 production facility, near the massive Bonga oil-field.
An April communique from the Avengers protests contamination of the Delta by the oil industry while the government invests little in social development of the region. Broaching separatism, the statement refered to Nigeria as a "failed entity." (Today, Sahara Reporters, Nigeria, May 10; Vanguard, Nigeria, May 9; NDA, April 24)