Nigerian Navy moves on Delta militants

Jan 23, 2007
Author: P&S

Faced with ongoing attacks on oil installations off the Nigerian coast in the region of the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s Navy has deployed 13 vessels, four helicopters and four smaller boats to the area in an attempt to prevent further disruptions.

The manoeuvre which is being described as the biggest sea exercise in 20 years is to provide training for Nigeria’s armed forces and does not mean an attack on militants is imminent, says the chief of naval staff, Vice-Admiral Ganiyu Adeke.

Code-named Exercise Idabo, which means ‘to protect’ in Yoruba, the exercise will help test the operational capability of the naval forces when guarding the oil installations, he said.

"Bight of Bonny is our major gateway for export of Nigeria's crude oil and natural gas - that is why it is important for us to exercise our fleet on the protection of deep sea oil and gas installation especially against terrorist attacks."

When asked why the navy had failed to prevent attacks by the militants, he said that rules of engagement precluded the use of maximum force in such circumstances.

According to Nigerian media reports the vessels deployed on the exercise include NNS DAMISA and NNS SHIRI, both guided missile strike craft, as well as four Agusta A109E attack helicopters



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