A new militant group, the Red Scorpion, which emerged in Imo state, southeastern Nigeria, some days ago has lived up to its threat of blowing up oil pipeline installations in the region for being excluded from the list of troubled states to dialogue with the federal government on issues of militants.
About twenty four hours after issuing the threat, a group reportedly blew up a gas pipeline owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation in the oil rich community of Awara in Ohaji/ Egbema council area of Imo state in the early hours of Thursday, June 23.
According to Daily Sun, the attack on the Shell gas pipeline was allegedly carried out by the new militant group called the Red Scorpion.
The group had on Tuesday, warned all oil companies operating in Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta councils to evacuate the workers and leave the oil communities immediately, vowing to continue with attacks until the oil-producing areas of the state are given what rightfully belongs to them without further warning.
A source close to the leadership of the group said the attack was a warning that militants in Imo should no longer be sidelined by the federal government.
However, when the Public Relations Officer of the company, Mr. Precious Okolobo, was contacted, he said the trans-Niger Pipeline which runs through Awara as the Assa Rumuekpe line has been shut down for repairs since June 8, 2016, following a leak at Okolo lunch near Bonny in Rivers State.
He, nevertheless, said they were investigating the incident .
When contacted, Andrew Enwerem, the state command’s spokesman, said:
“We got the report of 5u3 destruction of oil installation at Awara, but we are yet to know the extent of the damage.”
The Red Scorpion is just one of the many militant groups that have been birthed in recent times, particularly in the Niger Delta Region. A new militant group identified as the Niger Delta Volunteers (NDV), recently announced its presence in Akwa Ibom state.
On June 8, a new militant group called the Ultimate Warriors of Niger Delta (UWND) came on board demanding the control of 60 percent oil blocks to the Niger Delta region.
Another group, identified as Asawana Deadly Force of Niger Delta, came on the scene on Thursday, June 23rd, threatening to cripple the oil industry across the nine Niger Delta states unless the Federal Government grants them, “Niger Delta Republic in the next couple of days”.