PORT HARCOURT Jan 30 A militant faction in
Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta said on Friday its fighters
had clashed with the military after a raid on one of its camps
in the first such fighting since the start of the year.
The Niger Delta Vigilante, which has links to the main
militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger
Delta (MEND), said one of its camps had been attacked by
soldiers in gunboats.
"The battle lasted for almost one hour 30 minutes and we
were able to sink one of the double-engined boats with all the
occupants," said the faction's spokesman, who uses the pseudonym
There was no independent confirmation of fighting. A
military spokesman said he was making checks.
MEND, whose three-year campaign of sabotage against the oil
industry has cut Nigeria's output by around a fifth, declared a
unilateral ceasefire last September but has repeatedly warned
that it will resume attacks if provoked by the military.
The main group has been holding two British oil workers
hostage for more than four months partly in an effort to
dissuade the security forces from attacking.
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(Reporting by Austin Ekeinde; Writing by Nick Tattersall;
Editing by Louise Ireland)