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Nigeria’s MEND Militant Group Plans to End Cease-fire (Update1)




Nigeria’s MEND Militant Group Plans to End Cease-fire (Update1) 

By Dulue Mbachu

July 10 (Bloomberg) — A Nigerian militant group said it will end the unilateral cease-fire it declared on June 24 because it objects to an offer by the U.K. to help the government of the west African country secure its oil facilities.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, known as MEND, has, together with other militant groups, helped cut more than 20 percent of Nigeria’s crude oil exports since 2006 by attacking pipelines and other operations.

To show its objection to British “support of an injustice, MEND will be calling off its unilateral cease-fire with effect from midnight, Saturday, July 12, 2008,” the group’s spokesman Jomo Gbomo, said in an e-mailed statement today.

British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said yesterday that the U.K. is prepared to help Nigeria quell unrest near its oilfields as part of an effort to boost world oil output and bring down prices. Brown met with Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua this week during the Group of Eight summit in Japan. Yar’Adua is scheduled to visit London next week.

The Nigerian president had called for G-8 help to tackle international trade in stolen crude oil which he said was fueling the violence in Niger Delta region, the source of nearly all of the country’s crude oil.

MEND says it is fighting for a greater share of oil wealth for the impoverished inhabitants of the Niger Delta and accuses successive Nigerian governments of decades of oppression. The group declared a unilateral cease-fire days after it had conducted one of its most successful raids on June 19, attacking Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Bonga deep-water oilfield located 120 kilometers (75 miles) offshore and cutting production of 190,000 barrels of oil a day.

“Unrest in the region is as a result of over five decades of oil exploration that has developed other parts of Nigeria to the detriment of the environment and people of the Niger Delta,” Gbomo said. “Should Gordon Brown make good his threat to support this criminality for the sake of oil, U.K. citizens and interests in Nigeria will suffer the consequences.”

Crude oil for August delivery rose 6 cents to $136.11 a barrel as of 3:31 a.m. New York time in after hours electronic trade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dulue Mbachu in Lagos via Johannesburg at [email protected]

Last Updated: July 10, 2008 03:53 EDT

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