Skip to main content

Military to step up activities in Niger Delta region

From Christian Purefoy, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nigeria's military has ordered an incursion into militant camps
  • Civilians ordered to evacuate

Kaduna. Nigeria (CNN) -- Nigeria's military has ordered an incursion into militant camps in the oil-rich Niger Delta region after violence flared up again with attacks against oil companies and foreign workers, a military spokesman said Saturday.

Chief of Defense Staff Oluseyi Petirin said he has directed the Joint Task Force (JTF) to "occupy all militant camps in the Niger Delta and directed civilians in the environment of the camps to evacuate to "avoid collateral damage."

This would be the first military offensive since a brokered amnesty in the region.

The resurgence of attacks and kidnappings has occurred as Nigeria heads into elections next year.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has claimed responsibility for the recent kidnapping of seven foreign workers from an oil rig.

MEND and other militant groups claim to be fighting for a fairer distribution of the region's oil wealth. But analysts say they are often paid by politicians to support their own bid for power.