Nigerian rebels call ceasefire in 'oil wars'

LAGOS - The most prominent armed group in southern Nigeria, Mend, declared a ceasefire yesterday following a week of attacks on oil industry targets after launching an "oil war".

LAGOS - The most prominent armed group in southern Nigeria, Mend, declared a ceasefire yesterday following a week of attacks on oil industry targets after launching an "oil war".

"Effective 1am, yesterday, exactly one week (since) we launched our reprisals, Mend will begin a unilateral ceasefire until further notice," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said.

The ceasefire comes after Mend claimed a series of attacks, particularly targeting Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell confirmed only two of the six attacks claimed by the group.

The company on Friday declared force majeure on exports from the Bonny terminal to release it from contractual delivery obligations as a result of the attacks.

On Saturday Mend said it had destroyed a pipeline run by Shell the previous day.

Oil and gas account for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria.

Production currently ranges between 1,8 million and two million barrels a day, compared with 2,6 million two years ago, with unrest having taken a toll on output.

Mend declared "war" on the oil industry a week ago in what it said was a response to an attack by the Nigerian army.

It warned yesterday that it would end the ceasefire if attacked again.

"We hope the military has learnt its lesson.

"The next unprovoked attack will start another oil war.'' - Sapa-AFP

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