LAGOS, Nigeria, June 8 – The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group on Wednesday rejected a truce offer to end attacks on key oil infrastructure that has cut output in Nigeria.
The NDA wrote on its Twitter account @NDAvengers: “We’re not negotiating with any committee. If (the) federal government is discussing with any group they’re doing that on their own.”
Nigeria’s government this week announced it had set up a committee headed by the national security advisor to open talks with the rebels to bring an end to the repeated attacks.
Junior oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu also said military operations to hunt down the group in the creeks and swamps of the oil-rich delta region in the south had been scaled back.
The Avengers have attacked facilities operated by the Nigerian subsidiaries of Shell, Eni, Chevron, and the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) since the start of the year.
The violence over poverty in the region and repeated oil spills has slashed production to 1.6 million barrels per day, well below the budgeted-for 2.2 million bpd, Kachikwu said on Monday.
The NDA is believed to have sympathies for a former oil rebel leader active in the region in the 2000s and who is now wanted on money laundering and corruption charges.
It has also pressed for self-determination for the Niger delta region but maintain its activities are only targeting oil installations rather than the personnel or the military.