Niger Delta communities have called for international mediation to resolve the civil strife in the oil-producing region, Nigeria’s daily ‘The Guardian’ said yesterday. Quoting a statement by the Consultative Assembly of Ijaws, Isokos and Ndokwas, the newspaper said the communities condemned the “unprovoked” killing of Ijaw youths and the “persistent and increasing threat of the use of force” in response to local demands for greater control of the area’s resources.
The level of civil strife has increased since the end of December following the passing of an Ijaw deadline for oil companies to cease operations in Bayelsa state and the government’s subsequent deployment of additional troops and military equipment to quell the unrest. “The decision of the government of (head of state) General Abdulsalami Abubakar to kill defenceless Ijaw youths amounts to a declaration of war,” the statement said.
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