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Niger Delta rebels threaten to take-up arms again

Despite three of its top leaders taking a presidential amnesty, Nigeria's main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, is threatening to lift a three-month-old ceasefire and resume violence in the oil-rich region. Delta residents are poor, even though the government makes billions in oil revenues there, so the amnesty still hasn’t convinced some rebels that government is willing to begin serious peace talks. This week Nigerian authorities sweetened the amnesty by offering Delta residents a 10% equity holding in Nigeria's oil industry. But with massive corruption among Nigerian politicians, the people don’t trust that the money will reach them. The Delta has seen the kidnapping of foreigners and attacks on oil installations, which keep Nigeria from pumping to capacity. The rebels have the support of a few big guns, including Nobel Prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka and some retired senior military types, but are said to have not yet formally met with government officials. The sincerity of Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar'Adua is being tested, as it appears he has never specifically named the group, Mend, as being among numerous rebel groups in the Delta that the government wants to talk to.


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