Nigerian Militants Insist on Foreign Mediators for Talks with Government

Reuters

LAGOS, June 13 (Reuters) - The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group that has carried out attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria's southern oil region, said on Monday it would only negotiate with the government if independent foreign mediators were involved.

Last week the group, which wants a greater share of Nigeria's oil wealth to go to the impoverished Niger Delta region, rejected an offer from the government to hold talks.

Attacks in the southern swampland have pushed oil production to a 20-year low in what was until recently Africa's biggest oil producing nation. Its production has fallen behind Angola in the last few weeks.

In a statement on its website, the Avengers said they wanted multinational oil companies operating in the country to "commit independent mediators to this proposed dialogue" to "bring about a lasting peace."

"If need be we may review our earlier stance of not taking lives," the statement said.

On Sunday, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, one of the region's largest militant groups until it signed up for a government amnesty in 2009, urged the Avengers to take part in negotiations.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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