Nigeria Creates Special Committee to End Violence

Nigeria has created a special committee to seek a permanent end to ethnic warfare in its delta region that has shut in approximately 40 percent of the country's production. President Olusegun Obasanjo, who met delta leaders for talks, urged them "to call their militant youths to order immediately and to refrain from all acts of violence" while the committee works.

The talks produced no immediate breakthrough to the crisis that threatens the mainstay of the Nigerian economy as well as critical national elections beginning next weekend.

Leaders from the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo ethnic groups left the meeting saying the talks were inconclusive.

The committee will be headed by Defense Minister Theophilus Danjuma, a retired army chief and key ally of the president. He attended talks along with all military service chiefs and the head of the national police. The committee will start work immediately. Obasanjo said peace in the delta "will require an element of give-and-take. It will also require statesmanship, courage and patriotism."