off the mend
This is not good:
A militant group in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta says it is ending the ceasefire it declared last October.Let's set aside for a second the question of whether President Yar'Adua is in any condition to guarantee amnesty offers. The fact is, the amnesty doesn't solve the real issue underlying MEND's militancy. There's a reason that MEND is active; the people of Nigeria's delta region have suffered horrific environmental devastation while seeing very few material benefits from the exploitation of their land. Part of this is the oil companies' fault, but the biggest issue is corruption by federal and regional leaders who siphon off oil money that is supposed to be for the public benefit.
Jomo Gbomo, who said he was a spokesman for the group Mend, said it did not believe the government would restore control of resources to local people.
Mend has demanded that residents be given a greater share in profits from oil resources and land.
It warned oil companies to prepare for what it called an all-out onslaught against installations and personnel.
Analysts say it is not yet clear if this statement comes from the whole of Mend - the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta - or just a faction that did not accept the offer of an amnesty from President Umaru Yar Adua.
Given the low-intensity, anti-oil company violence that began in the delta nearly twenty years ago, it's not surprising that a militant organization would eventually form as a result of those grievances. (It's also not surprising that they would get involved in banditry-style piracy, but that's another post.)
Does having a sense of why MEND exists excuse their methods? Of course not. They commit horrible crimes. But until the solution matches the problem - that is, until the people of the delta get more than a pittance of the profits from the oil - they're unlikely to stop.