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Militants Withdraw Threat to Attack Niger Delta Oil Industry

FILE - Nigeria set up an amnesty program for ex-militants in 2009 to stop the sabotage of oil facilities, like this attack on a pipeline in Andoni in December 2005.

A militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich southern Niger Delta has withdrawn its threat to launch attacks on oil facilities beginning this week.

Early in June, the New Delta Avengers, a previously unheard of group, issued a statement saying it would fight for a greater share of proceeds from crude oil sales to go to the impoverished region.

But in an open letter, the group withdrew its threat Wednesday.

"NDA has decided to shelve our planned attack on major oil facilities in the region from June 30, 2017," said the group.

"We have decided to give peace a chance," it said, stating that its decision was made to help local community leader Edwin Clark continue efforts to end regional violence.

The New Delta Avengers were apparently named in a nod to the Niger Delta Avengers, who last year crippled the OPEC member's oil production. Crude oil sales account for two-thirds of government revenue.

The attacks last year deepened a recession in Africa's biggest economy that was largely caused by low oil prices. The government has been holding peace talks with Niger Delta communities to end the violence, and there have been no major attacks this year.