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Nigeria Oil Militants Reject Talks With Government

  • VOA News

A Nigerian rebel group has rejected the government's offer of talks to end pipeline attacks that are disrupting the country's oil production.

The Niger Delta Avengers said on its Twitter account Wednesday that it is not negotiating with any government committee.

It also said the group blew up an oil well known as RMP 20, belonging to the Chevron corporation in the Warri North area, at 1 a.m. local time.

The Avengers have claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in southern Nigeria on facilities owned by Chevron, Shell and ENI. Analysts say the damage has cut Nigerian oil output by at least 25 percent, more than a half million barrels per day.

The Nigerian government, which is heavily dependent on oil revenue, said this week it was forming a committee to open talks with the rebels.

A previous wave of attacks in the south ended in 2009 with the start of an amnesty program that paid former militants.

The Avengers said Tuesday that the group behind the earlier attacks, known as MEND, no longer exists. It said its mandate "is to liberate the Niger Delta people."

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