Nigeria`s main militant group declares indefinite ceasefire
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009, 21:53
Abuja: Nigeria's main militant group on Sunday declared an indefinite cease-fire to encourage dialogue with the government, a spokesman of the group said.

Following a meeting between Nigeria's President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and leader of main militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah recently, the group has announced an indefinite ceasefire.

"Government of Nigeria expressed its readiness to engage in serious and meaningful dialogue with every group or individual towards achieving a lasting peace in the Niger Delta," the group said in a statement.

Asked by a news agency what it thinks of the meeting between its leader and Yar’Adua, the group said: "MEND sees the meeting as a welcome and positive development that should lead to meaningful dialogue on the root issues responsible for the regions unrest."

The group’s spokesman Gbomo Jomo said in a press statement that the government's position was conveyed to them by Okah after his meeting with the president.

Indications that the group was about softening its stance came in an earlier exclusive email to a news agency in which it accepted the recent meeting as positive.

The militant group which had earlier issued a ceasefire and extended it later announced the end to such process on the October 16 even after the government had made an amnesty offer to all the groups fighting in the region.

Their present position is to continue dialoguing with the government through a team of eminent Nigerians it had selected earlier with a slight modification.

Annkio Briggs was among the team with Amagbe Denzel Kentebe. Writer and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and former retired military officer, Mike Akhigbe were also among the negotiators appointed by MEND.

Okah was arrested by the Angolan government in 2007 for arms trafficking but later deported to Nigeria and detained in prison.

His release and dropping of treason trial against him in July was hailed by MEND as a major step towards peace in the Delta region.

He later travelled outside the country for medical attention and resumed talks with the presidency on his return.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 25, 2009, 21:53

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