MEND may lift cease-fire

July 16, 2009 at 12:15 PM
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LAGOS, Nigeria, July 16 (UPI) -- The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta threatened to call off its cease-fire on oil attacks following Nigeria's military activity, the group said.

MEND has declared "all-out" war on the government in Nigeria, demanding oil revenue go for national investments rather than for political gain.

It launched attacks on facilities operated by California-based Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell as part of its militant effort to gain a greater share of the regional oil wealth. MEND took responsibility for a weekend attack on the Atlas Cove Jetty near Lagos, its first attack outside the Niger Delta.

The militant group declared a 60-day cease-fire Wednesday following the release of Henry Okah, its leader, under an amnesty deal with the Nigerian government.

MEND threatened to lift the cease-fire, however, after it observed Nigerian military forces conducting naval patrols near its camps, the Platts news service reports.

"If this information from a very reliable source within the (military) happens to be true, the cease-fire will be called off with immediate effect," a MEND statement read.

Nigerian military officials said the naval patrols were routine and not intended to provoke the militant group.

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