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Nigerian Militants Discuss Amnesty Deal with Government

Members of Nigerian militant groups have met with the government to discuss a proposed amnesty deal.

Representatives of several well-known militants, including Ateke Tom, Soboma George, and one widely known as Osama bin Laden, met with top officials in the oil hub of Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Some Nigerian newspapers report that one or more militants are prepared to disarm on Friday.

However, the militants' representatives want pledges they will not be hunted, especially by the Rivers State government, which has dismissed peace talks with the militants in the past.

Attacks by militant groups have caused Nigeria's oil production to fall by more than 25 percent over the last three years.

The most prominent militant group, MEND, dismissed the reports on Tuesday's meeting as "orchestrated rumors."

It denied that three of the militant leaders said to be represented at the meeting, Soboma George, Farah Dagogo, and Boyloaf, plan to accept amnesty.

In a related development, the Italian energy firm Eni says its oil deliveries from Nigeria will be interrupted because of militant activity.

Eni declared a "force majeure" on exports from its Brass River terminal in Bayelsa state Wednesday.

MEND attacked a pipeline to the terminal last Friday. Eni says the attack cut oil production by 33,000 barrels per day.