Militants declare 60-day Niger Delta ceasefire

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Nigeria's main militant group has declared a 60-day ceasefire in its offensive against the country's oil industry to provide a chance for peace talks with the government.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, whose attacks have cut Nigeria's oil output by around 300,000 barrels per day since May, said its decision was also a goodwill gesture following the release of rebel leader Henry Okah.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has offered a 60-day amnesty programme to all militants in the Niger Delta in the hope of halting the violence. Mr Okah was the first senior militant to accept the amnesty and was released on Monday after being in detention for more than a year on gun-running and treason charges. The government welcomed the ceasefire.

"We are already reaching out to them for dialogue and I assure them that the President can be trusted," a spokeswoman said.