Nigerian militants feel out new president, 'ceasefire is still off'

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said that it will cooperate with the new acting president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, if the militant group’s demands are met, reported Bloomberg.

MEND is demanding that the West African country’s vast oil resources be controlled at the local level.

According to a report from Reuters, the group is awaiting talks with President Goodluck Jonathan to resume the ceasefire agreement that was formerly in place.

Last month, MEND dissolved a three-month ceasefire because of amnesty delays caused partly by the previous Nigerian president’s absence due to illness.

“It is still too early to form an impression of the man with his new office, but if we have to judge him from his past antecedents, then there is little to cheer about,” a MEND spokesperson told Reuters about President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The ceasefire is still off, and we are yet to be invited to resume talks which will be the basis to weigh the intentions of this government.”

The MEND militant group has claimed myriad attacks on oil and gas infrastructure, as well as harassed, kidnapped and killed foreign petroleum personnel in the country.

Nigeria is the most prolific oil-producing nation in West Africa, and militant attacks on petroleum infrastructure have hampered production from the region, helping to drive the price of oil up.

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