Nigerian oil militants declare ceasefire, ready to negotiate
Nigeria’s leading oil militants have declared a conditional ceasefire in attacks that are losing the West African nation a million barrels of oil a day. The Niger Delta Avengers also say they are willing to negotiate a peace deal.
A statement on the group’s website says they will continue an undeclared “cessation of hostilities” on condition that security forces stop harassing civilians, and that international mediators are involved.
A military campaign in the oil-producing Niger Delta has killed scores of militants, soldiers and police.
The announcement follows a call Friday by community elders for all militants to join a dialogue for peace. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government already is in talks with other militants.
But it is the attacks by the Niger Delta Avengers that have cut production by 40 per cent this year and caused Nigeria to lose its place to Angola as Africa’s biggest oil producer.
The attacks on facilities of US-based ExxonMobil and Chevron, Italy’s Agip and the Dutch-British Shell resumed this year after the government stopped paying stipends to 30,000 militants under a 2009 amnesty that ended years of unrest in the Niger Delta.