Nigeria’s main militant group confirms talks with government

YEAR-2008 Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) raise their riffles to celebrate news of a successful operation by their colleagues against the Nigerian army in the Niger Delta on September 17, 2008. MEND has declared a full-scale "oil war" against the Nigerian authorities in response to attacks by the Nigerian military launched against the militants. "Our target is to crumble the oil installations in order to force the government to a round table to solve the problem once and for all", said Boy Loaf, leader of the militants. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria’s main militant group in oil rich Niger Delta region, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Sunday confirmed that it has been in preliminary talks with the government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies.

YEAR-2008 Fighters with the Movement for

Jomo Gbomo, the group’s spokesperson, said in a statement reaching Xinhua that these preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region.

On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, that dialogue is held with key Niger Delta militants through oil companies and law enforcement agencies to find a lasting solution to insecurity in the region.

He said his administration was studying the instruments of the amnesty program inherited from the previous administration with a view to carrying out commitments that were undelivered.

Two weeks ago, the MEND said it has set up a peace broker committee to mediate between them and the government, and gave the government a two-week ultimatum to commence dialogues.

The Niger Delta is an unstable area where inter-ethnic clashes are commonplace. Access to oil revenue is the trigger for the violence.