Nigerian militants claim attack on pipeline; police deny it

WARRI, Nigeria – Oil militants say they have blown up a gas pipeline in Nigeria’s southeastern Akwa Ibom state, but police blamed the explosion on a technical failure.

The state-owned pipeline carries gas used to generate electricity for industries including Nigeria’s only aluminum smelting plant.

There was no way to independently verify the cause of Sunday night’s blast. The Niger Delta Avengers claimed the attack on their website overnight, before the police statement Monday.

A resurgence in attacks in Nigeria’s oil-producing south this year has slashed production from 2.2 million to 1.2 million barrels a day.

The militants want a bigger share of oil wealth for residents suffering from massive oil pollution.

Oil accounts for 70 per cent of government revenue. The attacks are contributing to an economic crisis that threatens recession.