Since May 7, a militant group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has bombed three pipelines in Nigeria — Africa's biggest oil producer — disrupting the flow of nearly 100,000 barrels a day for the Italian oil company Eni. The disruptions helped push oil prices in New York to $63.17, up 71 cents a barrel.
MEND has said that it plans to escalate attacks in the weeks leading up to the inauguration of Nigeria’s president-elect, Umaru Yar’Adua. In an e-mail message to Western news organizations, the group vowed to “destroy the Nigerian oil export industry and compel the government to address the injustice in the Niger Delta.”
FDD Adjunct Fellow Dr. Peter Pham was one of the first to link MEND to Middle Eastern terrorism. A former diplomat in Africa, he visits the region frequently and has written numerous articles. His latest, in today’s World Defense Review, analyzes MEND’s threat to the region.