Nigerian militant group,  the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which wreaked havoc on Nigerian oil industry in the 2000s, said it was in back-channel talks with the government to end renewed violence on the oil and gas facilities in the oil-producing south, reported Reuters. The group confirmed in a statement: “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to confirm that indeed it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies.”

In an attempt to reach a solution for the unstable conditions in the region, the office of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, stated that the government had been resorting to oil companies and security agencies in this regard. During the preliminary talks, the group said the government made it clear that it would not negotiate with criminals and it had blacklisted certain groups to include Niger Delta Avengers, according to Africa News and Analysis.  The Avengers also denied they were in talks with the government.

MEND has campaigned for a fairer share of Nigeria’s multi-billion-dollar oil wealth for residents of the delta. Crude sales make up about 70% of national income and the vast majority of that oil comes from the southern swampland.

The Niger Delta Avengers group claimed responsibility for recently blowing up a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s gas pipeline at Nsit-Ibom, Reuters announced.