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Blasts Rock Talks on Nigeria Militant Amnesty


Two car bombs rocked the southern Nigerian city of Warri Monday as officials discussed an amnesty program for regional militants.

Reports from the scene say at least two people were wounded when the car bombs exploded about 30 minutes apart, near the Delta state government house, where talks were being held about an amnesty program for Niger Delta militants.

The main militant group in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta warned of the explosions in an e-mail sent to reporters just minutes before the first bomb went off.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, known as MEND, said the attack was meant to announce its "continued presence" in the region. It said the Delta state governor had dismissed the group as a creation of the media.

MEND said Monday that it will not tolerate what it called the deceit of endless dialogue and conferences. It warned of more attacks on oil companies in the Niger Delta, including the French firm Total, which has largely escaped attacks in the past.

MEND has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks and kidnappings over the past several years. The group says it is fighting for a more equitable distribution of wealth in the Niger Delta.

At one point, militant attacks cut Nigeria's oil production by as much as a third. Output rose somewhat last year after President Yar'Adua extended the amnesty offer.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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