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Nigeria Recovers Bodies of 10 Policemen Killed in Bayelsa State

Nigerian authorities recovered 10 bodies of policemen killed in an April 6 attack by gunmen in the oil-rich Niger River delta, while two remain missing, Bayelsa state Police Commissioner Kingsley Omire said.

Three policemen and the boat driver jumped in the river in the southern state when gunmen opened fire and were later rescued, he said. The attack was claimed by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which said it killed all 15 officers aboard.

MEND, the main rebel group in the the area, said on April 3 it was resuming attacks in Africa’s largest oil-producing country after suspected leader Henry Okah was sentenced to 24 years in prison in South Africa on terrorism charges.

Attacks including kidnappings and bombing of oil installations by groups including MEND cut more than 28 percent of Nigeria’s oil output between 2006 and 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The violence declined after thousands of fighters accepted a government offer of amnesty in 2009 and disarmed in exchange for payments.

A group of former militants, whose leader embezzled more than 80 million naira ($507,453) of their share of amnesty payments, carried out the attack, Omire said.

“It has nothing to do with MEND whatsoever,” he said.

Two insurgents also died in the gunfight, which lasted for more than 40 minutes in the Azuzama area in Southern Ijaw local government region, MEND spokesman Jomo Gbomo said in an e-mailed statement April 7.

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