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Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta




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The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is one of the largest militant groups in the Niger delta. Many people in the delta are poor. The Nigerian government has contracts that allow international companies to extract crude oil in the delta. This extraction causes massive damage to the environment. According to the magazine The Economist, the organization wants more of the profit of the oil extraction to go to the poor region, where the oil is extracted.[1] According to the magazine, the organisation is used by several armed groups; these groups are sometimes paid to launch attacks. The payment is done either with weapons or with money.[1] MEND has been linked to attacks on petroleum operations in Nigeria as part of the Conflict in the Niger Delta, engaging in actions including sabotage, theft, property destruction, guerrilla warfare, and kidnapping.[2]

MEND's stated goals are to localize control of Nigeria's oil and to secure reparations from the federal government for pollution caused by the oil industry. In an interview with one of the group's leaders, who used the alias Major-General Godswill Tamuno, the BBC reported that MEND was fighting for "total control" of the Niger Delta's oil wealth, saying local people had not gained from the riches under the ground and the region's creeks and swamps."[3]

In a January 2006 email, MEND warned the oil industry, "It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assets. Leave our land while you can or die in it.... Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil."[4] Additionally MEND has called upon President Olusegun Obasanjo to free two jailed Ijaw leaders — Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is jailed and charged with treason, and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa State convicted of corruption. Obasanjo's successor, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua authorised the release of Dokubo-Asari and Alamieyeseigha in 2007.[5]

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