No let up in the chaos of Nigeria. Rebels from the Niger Delta blew up a Royal Dutch Shell pipeline yesterday, forcing the firm to cut production, helping keep world oil prices near record highs as a consequence.

It was carried out while Shell was trying to repair damage caused by a series of similar attacks last month. The Anglo-Dutch oil firm said that, after the attack, some oil had spilled from its Nembe Creek trunk line, which carries crude to the Bonny export terminal.

“An overfly this morning showed some oil had spilled into the environment and we have mobilized equipment to contain further spread of oil. We have also shut in some production to stop further spill,” the company said in a statement.

MEND – the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta – claimed responsibility for the attack which it said was aimed against the government of President Umaru Yar’Adua. “Today’s attack is dedicated to the administration of Umaru Yar’Adua and (Vice-President) Goodluck Jonathan who have failed after one year in office to ensure peace, security and reconciliation in the Niger Delta,” it said in an e-mail.