Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has accused the Nigerian government of attacking several Ijaw communities across the restive Niger Delta oil region and vowed retaliatory attacks.
``In a further show of its insincerity, the government of (President) Umaru Yar'Adua ordered an invasion by the Nigerian military to several peace loving Ijaw communities in Edo, Bayelsa and Ondo states of Nigeria on Sunday, June 8, 2008,'' MEND said in a statement e-mailed to the media Monday night.
``The invading force carried out terrible atrocities such as rape, vandalism and murder before razing down houses.
Communities affected in this genocide include Azakurama and Abere in Edo state, Fafa Arogbo in Ondo state and three communities inside Ekeremor local government in Bayelsa state,'' it said.
MEND vowed to retaliate the ''unprovoked aggression on behalf of these unarmed civilians''.
The largest militant group in the oil region, whose attacks have helped push up global oil prices, also accused Shell of involvement ''in the clandestine importation of arms and ammunition to suppress the people of the Niger Delta'', saying the oil major's alleged action had justified MEND's incessant attacks on Shell facilities in the region.
The Ijaw constitute the majority ethnic group in the oil region, where a myriad of militant groups have resorted to violence as part of their campaign for a better deal for the impoverished oil-producing communities.
The Nigerian government is organising a summit to bring all stakeholders in the region together to brainstorm on how to end the growing violence, which has slashed Nigeria's oil production and export.