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Nigeria`s main militant group declares indefinite ceasefire

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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