The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is one of the largest and most influential militant groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The group is active since 2004 and directly opposes the national Nigerian army, some other militant groups in the region, and two oil and gas corporations (ExxonMobil and Chevron). The MEND seeks to increase the self-reliance of the Niger Delta region and utilises guerrilla tactics.
The MEND’s main objective is to crack down the oil production in the region of the Niger Delta and to punish those who exploit and oppress the regional population. The MEND declares that its motivations are fuelled by the degradation of the natural environment — which they claim has resulted from collaboration between oil and gas corporations and the Nigerian government.
The MEND (a group mainly composed of Izon ethnic fighters) accuses the Nigerian government and all oil corporations around the world to be enabling economic inequality, mass-scale fraud, and ecocide.
The MEND’s guerrilla tactics have been observed to be significantly more advanced than those employed by other militant groups in the Niger Delta. One of the reasons for the group’s advanced abilities involves its access to technology. For instance, the MEND uses speed boats to navigate the swamps and streams and even utilises improved and upgraded firearms. These factors — along with successful guerrilla strategies — have enabled the MEND to out-power its opponents. Oil corporation Shell’s private military (which is Western-trained), for example, has fallen numerous times to MEND ambushes.
The MEND’s approach to resistance includes kidnappings of oil workers (done in order to receive ransoms), armed assaults on oil production plants, the murder of Nigerian police officers, and the destruction of oil pipelines. Controversially, the MEND has also drained oil supplies and resold it on the black market — an approach considered to be hypocritical by the general Nigerian population. The militant group has repeatedly bombed pipelines, triggering an international increase in the cost of oil.
NOTE: This article will be updated soon.