Gunmen suspected to be militants have attacked an oil pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company at Ikienghenbiri community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The attack on the pipeline was said to have been spearheaded by some armed youths from the community.

However, community sources said a supremacy war between rival pipeline contractors over a surveillance contract led to the attack.

It was also learnt that some members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, who stormed the community shortly after the incident, arrested one of the suspects.

The state Commandant, NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, confirmed the attack on the pipeline.

He said one of the militants, identified simply as Peregbakumo, was arrested through the assistance of the community leaders.

Agu said he had to summon an emergency meeting of senior officers of the command and gave them a marching order to secure all pipelines, oil installations and other critical national assets in the state.

He identified the facility attacked by the militants as a pipeline along the Azuzuama area of the Tebidaba-Brass trunk line.

The commandant said the pipeline was attacked with dynamite at about 12.30am, adding that the community was cooperating with his operatives to apprehend other suspects.

He said, after the attack, the armed youth laid ambush in the community and shot a civilian member of the Oil and Gas Task Force in the leg.

Agu, however, said the youth took off on sighting the gunboat of the NSCDC, adding that his officers later arrested Peregbakumo with the help of community leaders.

Agu said, “At about 0300 hours, a gang of armed youths allegedly led by one Suoyou, Iyelawei and Fyneboy, all of Ikienghenbiri community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, vandalised a pipeline along the Azuzuama area of the Tebidaba-Brass pipeline with dynamites and ignited fire on the line.

“Through community help, we were able to arrest one of the suspects and identify some of the fleeing suspects. There was a lot of community collaboration. And we are grateful to the community because they don’t like what the armed youth are doing.”

Last week, an attack on a gas pipeline at an oilfield operated by the NAOC at Ogbembiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State compelled the oil giant to shut production on the line.

The company subsequently deferred the production of 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent of its equity share of production in the field run with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in a joint venture.