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Page last updated at 03:41 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 04:41 UK

Nigeria rebels 'to end ceasefire'

Mend rebels. File photo
Attacks by the rebels have seriously disrupted Nigeria's oil industry

A faction of the main rebel group in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta says it will end its ceasefire on Tuesday.

The faction of The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) is believed to be led by Henry Okah.

But the faction's stance looks increasingly isolated, with other Mend leaders distancing themselves from Henry Okah, correspondents say.

Mend declared its 60-day truce in July. The group has in the past attacked the oil industry and the Nigerian military.

The rebels have been fighting to drive the army out of certain areas of the Niger Delta and allow displaced people to return to their homes.

The Nigerian government has recently announced an amnesty for armed gangs fighting the military and attacking the oil industry.

Some militant leaders are co-operating, saying they want to return to civilian life.

One Mend leader has already dumped a large number of weapons, while two other are in negotiations to do the same.

Amnesty plea

But the "No" faction says it rejects the amnesty, describing the decommissioning as fake.

Map

The faction is widely believed to be led by Henry Okah, the man who was in jail for nearly two years, the BBC's Caroline Duffield in the Niger Delta reports.

However, few people in the area believe Henry Okah has any serious military capability, our correspondent adds.

Other Mend members are distancing themselves from the whole idea of ending the ceasefire, appealing for no return to violence.

Some Mend leaders have even told the BBC they want the government amnesty extended to give them more time to dump weapons, our correspondent says.

Numerous attacks by Mend on installations in the Niger Delta in recent years have seriously disrupted the Nigerian oil and gas industry.



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