Nigerian army to conduct training exercises in Niger Delta

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Nigerian army soldiers stand guard as they cordon off a road leading to the scene of a blast at a business district in Abuja June 25, 2014. At least 21 people were killed when a suspected bomb tore through the crowded shopping district in the Nigerian capital Abuja during rush hour on Wednesday, police said, adding to the toll of thousands killed in attacks this year. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) - RTR3VS83

YENAGOA, Nigeria, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The Nigerian army on Monday said it will carry out training exercises in the restive southern Niger Delta, where attacks on oil installations last year cut the OPEC member’s crude production by around a third.

A ceasefire by militants has halted attacks in the oil production heartland this year. President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said the government was continuing to hold talks with communities in the region in a bid to secure a lasting peace.

Exercises in tasks such as logistics, reconnaissance and medical care will be carried out within the states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States from Oct. 7 to Oct. 28, military spokesman Aminu Iliyasu said in an emailed statement.

“The command also wishes to allay the fears of the general public as they will witness increased movements of troops and equipment during the period,” he said.

A military deployment in the Delta last year saw communities accuse troops of intimidating locals in raids aimed at capturing militants who said they wanted a greater share of energy wealth to go to the region. Crude sales make up two-thirds of government revenue.

A military operation launched last month in the nearby southeast region to reduce violent crime and “secessionist agitations” has led to claims that the home of a separatist leader was besieged, which the army denies. (Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans)

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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