Nigeria’s army says it has arrested militants suspected of working with Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), including their leader, for conducting sabotage activities against the country’s oil and gas facilities.
The Nigerian soldiers and security forces, backed by air cover, detained Isaac Romeo, the suspected leader of the NDA, along with two other militants over the weekend in Calabar, the capital of Cross River state, in the Delta region, the army said Wednesday.
A fourth man suspected of being responsible for an attack on a pipeline operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Nigerian energy company, Shoreline, in August was detained in Edo state in southern Nigeria on Tuesday, according to the military.
The arrests come despite a truce declared by the militants in an open letter to the government last month.
The army fears the NDA could launch more assaults against the oil and gas infrastructure during negotiations for peace.
The militant group, mainly operating in the Niger Delta, publicly announced existence in March and since then has been blowing up gas and crude oil pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The NDA attacks have had an immediate and significant impact on Nigeria’s wealth as they have pushed the country’s oil output to its lowest level in decades. Oil exports account for 70 percent of Nigeria's government revenue.
The militants want foreign oil companies out of the Niger Delta. They say they are fighting to protect the environment and to win locals a bigger share of the profits.