March 15 (StarAfrica) -- Nigeria's main armed group MEND threatened on Monday to attack oil firms such as French group Total in renewed violence in the country's restive oil-rich Niger Delta region.
"In the coming days, we will carry out a number of attacks against installations and oil companies across the Niger Delta and will spread out to companies such as Total which have been spared in the past," the group said in an email to AFP.
The Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta called off a three-month unilateral truce in January, angered with the Nigerian government for lack of progress in the implementation of a post-amnesty programme for former fighters in the region.
Last June, the government offered an amnesty to rebels who laid down their guns after a three-year campaign of violence against the country's multi-billion-dollar oil industry.
The campaign, which involved repeated attacks on oil installations and the kidnap of foreign oil workers, slashed Nigeria's daily oil output.
From a peak of 2.6 million barrels in 2006, production fell to as low as one million barrels per day. Since the recent amnesty programme came into effect, production has risen to two million barrels.
Total, one of Nigeria's main oil players, has been spared attacks on its operations by militants in the region.
Last month, Total announced plans to invest seven billion dollars (5.16 billion euros) in the country's oil and gas exploration and production over the next four to five years.
Two of the projects have already been announced -- the development of the Usan deep water offshore field, which will go into production in 2012, and the exploration of oil block OML 58 in the Niger Delta.
Two more areas are being studied, a company spokesman said.