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MEND rules out money-for-arms surrender

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said late Tuesday that its disarmament would not be in exchange for money as the opening of a government amnesty offer window was due in less than 48 hours.

“When we choose to disarm, it will be done freely, knowing that the reason for our uprising which is the emancipation of the Niger Delta from neglect and injustice has been achieved,” the group said in an e-mail statement.

MEND said it was important to make the clarification “to counter propagandists and rumour mongers.”

Newspapers have recently insinuated that MEND would accept money in exchange for the laying down of their arms.

President Umaru Yar’Adua had in late June offered unconditional amnesty for all militants who lay down their arms and embrace peace.

The amnesty runs from August 6 until October 4.

The group, which is yet to accept the offer, said in the statement that it was already consulting with the Presidential Adviser on the Niger Delta , Mr.Timi Alaibe.

“The outcome of these negotiations will determine MEND’s approach to the government’s offer,” it stated.

The group, which claims to be fighting for a larger share of the oil revenues for the impoverished Niger Delta communities, last month declared a 60-day ceasefire in response to the amnesty offer.

MEND, the most prominent and sophisticated of the rebel groups in the region, has been attacking major oil companies and the army in the region for more than three years, demanding a greater share of the oil wealth for local people.


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