The violence in the Niger Delta is escalating. Fighters from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) today claimed to have destroyed three major oil pipelines in the region.

MEND said the Italian oil firm Agip’s Brass terminal, which normally exports about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), had been affected by the attacks.

“Today … at 0100 hours Nigerian time (0000 GMT), fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta attacked and destroyed three major pipelines in Bayelsa State of the Niger Delta,” said the MEND’s spokesman, who uses the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo.

“Two of these pipelines were within the territory of Akasa and the third in Brass. They reported an immediate power outage at the Agip Brass terminal on the destruction of the pipeline in Brass,” he added.

MEND have stepped up attacks since Nigeria staged elections last month that were widely condemned as fraudulent. It has no faith in president-elect Umaru Yar’Adua or his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, who is the outgoing governor of Bayelsa State in the delta.

“We intend to destroy between now and May 29 more pipes than we have destroyed in the last one year,” said Gomo.