Niger Delta Crisis: FG, Militants Break Truce

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*Ijaw youths blame government as ex-militant opposes negotiation with NDA

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Federal Government and the Niger Delta Avengers, the new face of violent agitations in the oil-rich region, may have broken a temporary truce which was meant to lay the groundwork for peace talks to halt the ongoing destruction of oil and gas pipelines in the area, THISDAY learnt on Thursday.

In what seemed like a pre-condition for the cessation of hostilities between both parties, the federal government had last week ordered the withdrawal of troops who were ostensibly in search of the militants from the communities in the region.

Also, in return, the militants, especially the NDA, who had earlier held on to its rigid stand not to negotiate with the government, last Monday hinted that its members were ready to talk with the government, given certain conditions.

‘’We only want a genuine attitude and conducive atmosphere that will make us commit to any proposed dialogue and lasting peace talk’’, the group said.

It also listed the stoppage of lifting of crude oil and a halt to the repair of pipelines destroyed by its members as conditions for negotiation.

But with the invasion of some Ijaw communities in Delta on Wednesday and the retaliatory blowing up of a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the early hours of Thursday, THISDAY learnt that the ceasefire may have become shaky.

In a tweet on its handle, @NDavengers on Thursday, the group claimed that it had moved into Akwa Ibom, and destroyed the facility belonging to the country’s oil company, the NNPC.

‘’ At 4.00am @NDavengers blow up (sic) NNPC Pipeline in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom’’, the NDA tweeted.

Further details later