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Nigeria's latest plan to end militant attacks in the volatile Niger
Delta appears to be in trouble as repentant militants protest
non-payment of promised allowances for the third time since the 60-day
amnesty program began.
of militants in Bayelsa's state capital Yenegoa took to the streets on
Friday, during which they blockaded roads and disrupted commerce, over
the government's failure to pay them for handing over their weapons.
former rebels have threatened to return to the creeks and resume
attacks against the oil industry if they are not paid. An ex-militant,
Tom Brown, tells VOA the government has failed to deliver on its
promises under the amnesty deal.
"The federal government is not
trying. They are only preaching amnesty, amnesty, amnesty. We are just
there taking care of ourselves, managing our lives. Nothing has been
given to us till this moment. All our outstanding allowances should be
given to us since they have granted us federal amnesty."
the amnesty offer, rebels who surrender their weapons and accept the
amnesty will get a few hundred dollars a month, training and job
opportunities. Officials say 6,000 gunmen have embraced the deal since
President Umaru Yar'Adua offered the amnesty in June.
The government concedes that several of the former militants were yet to be paid, and promised to speed up the process.
amnesty offer is set to expire on October 4. The government has
rejected calls from some of the region's top militant commanders to
extend the deadline by three months to allow for dialogue on demands.
umbrella organization for armed groups in the region, the Movement for
the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, has rejected the latest peace
efforts as a sham. The group, responsible for attacks that crippled
Africa's biggest oil industry over the last three years, is observing a
ceasefire but has threatened to resume attacks if substantive
negotiations are not held.