Niger Delta Avengers Break Ceasefire Following Buhari’s Meeting with President Obama 3

U.S. President Barack Obama and President Muhammadu Buhari met in New York City on 20 September to discuss matters of security in Nigeria. Three days later, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) carried out an attack on the Shell-operated Bonny crude export pipeline, putting an abrupt end to the ceasefire that had been adhered to since August.

The two Presidents met at the United Nations General Assembly, and discussed ways of countering the extremists operating inside of the country. Being that the Nigerian federal government had failed to reach out to militant groups for formal talks more than a month after the ceasefire had been brokered, Buhari’s commitment to finding a solution has been called into question. Nevertheless, following the attack, the NDA issued a statement saying that the organization was “still in favor of dialogue and negotiations.”

Meanwhile, the military has continued it’s offensive in the Niger Delta region since the ceasefire initially began on 20 August. The Nigerian military reported on 7 September that they had captured a suspected leader of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), Isaac Romeo, in Calabar, the capital of Cross River state.

Two days after capturing Romeo, the Nigerian Army then tweeted that it had destroyed 74 illegal oil refineries as well as camps of militants in Rivers State and Bayelsa State as part of an ongoing operation code-named ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’.

A new militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), which has publicly stated it’s opposition to the ceasefire, responded to the military advances by carrying out two major attacks over the following week in Delta state. The first was a crude oil pipeline attack on 13 September. The latest, just before midnight on 18 September, targeted the Afiesere-Ekiugbo delivery line owned by the state-run Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

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Abraham Sule, another suspected Niger Delta Avengers leader, was then arrested by the Nigerian Navy 20 September, although Sule denies being a member of Niger Delta Avengers.

Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated earlier in September that oil production in the country has been cut by approximately 60 percent due to pipeline and terminal attacks throughout 2016.

According to the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) released last week, Nigeria’s oil output has dipped even further throughout the summer, with only 1.468 million bpd recorded in August.

However, since declaration of the ceasefire on 20 August, production had picked up. Oil Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu announced at the Presidential Quarterly Briefing on 19 September that the nation was already seeing improvement, and on pace for 1.75 million bpd.

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