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Nigeria rebels in the oil-rich delta claim attack on boat, threaten to reduce oil production

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LAGOS, Nigeria - Rebels are claiming responsibility for an attack on a security patrol boat on a waterway in Nigeria's southern Bayelsa state.

A statement purporting to come from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said late Sunday the attack, though "insignificant," is a reminder of the rebel group's presence in the oil-rich delta. It said the Saturday night attacks in the Nembe-Bassanbiri waterways were carried out by new fighters.

The group threatened to reduce Nigerian oil production to zero by 2015.

Analysts believe the militant group has lost much of its operational capability. Top MEND fighters signed a 2009 deal in which many were paid by the government. Some now provide protection for the international oil companies they used to attack.

But some disgruntled MEND activists threaten continued sabotage.

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