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Page last updated at 00:47 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 01:47 UK

Nigeria militants end ceasefire

Militants in Nigeria who have surrendered
Thousands of militants have surrendered under an amnesty

A hardline faction in Nigeria's main armed group says it is ending a three-month ceasefire and will resume attacks on the oil industry.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) had called the truce in the wake of an amnesty offer from the president.

Most Mend commanders and thousands of militants have disarmed under the deal.

Correspondents say the splinter group is tiny and is believed to be led by Henry Okah, freed from prison in July.

It says the Nigerian government has done nothing to address the underlying problems in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta resumes its hostilities against the Nigerian oil industry, the Nigerian armed forces and its collaborators with effect from 0000 hours Friday, Oct. 16," the group said in an e-mailed statement.

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Mend declared the 60-day ceasefire on 15 July to allow for peace talks shortly after Mr Okah was freed from prison.

It extended the ceasefire by a month in mid-September despite not having held any formal discussions with the government.

Last week, the authorities in Nigeria said as many as 15,000 oil militants active in the delta had surrendered under the two-month amnesty, which expired on 4 October.

The BBC's Caroline Duffield in Nigeria says the splinter group has called the disarmament ceremonies staged displays and vowed that they will not give up violence.

Militant groups have flourished in the delta amid a lack of governance and rule of law.

They claim to be fighting to help local people benefit from the region's oil wealth but fund their activities with oil theft, extortion and kidnapping.

Attacks on oil installations and their employees have cut Nigeria's output by a third in the past three years and helped raise oil prices.



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