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Nigeria army gives oil rebels one week to seek amnesty
by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) Sept 22, 2011

Nigeria's security forces on Thursday gave rebels in the oil-rich Niger Delta region one week to seek amnesty, an offer that has previously curbed violence in the turbulent region.

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, extended a two-month amnesty offer from August to October of 2009, when more than 20,000 rebels turned in their weapons.

The offer was made to those who claimed they had been fighting to secure a fairer share of oil revenues for the region's people.

Some who took amnesty were given a cash payout, while others received job training.

On Thursday, the country's security forces said they were issuing a seven day "period of grace to everyone bearing arms illegally in the Niger Delta region to come forward and submit them."

Those who declined the offer would be arrested and prosecuted, the statement added.

In recent months security services have "mopped up several thousands of arms and ammunition which would otherwise have been used to perpetrate crime in the country," the statement claimed.

Rebel-fuelled unrest from 2006 to 2009, which included kidnappings and attacks on oil installations, curbed oil production, from 2.6 million barrels per day to a low of about about one million.

The amnesty deal has led to a sharp decline in attacks.

Last month, Nigeria produced 2.32 million barrels daily, its highest level in five years, according to the International Energy Agency figures.

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