Lagos - Militant group MEND, which wreaked havoc on Nigerian oil facilities in the 2000s, said Sunday it was in back-channel talks with the government to end renewed violence in the oil-producing south.
"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," the group said in a statement.
It said the talks were aimed at "finding solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region", home to the country's massive oil and gas resources.
The group had last month called for a dialogue after a rival group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on oil facilities.
Also read: MEND writes Buhari
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said last week that the government was negotiating with militants through oil companies and security agencies to end the string of attacks since February that have slashed output and worsened the country's revenue targets.
The Avengers denied they were in talks with the government.
But MEND described the group and other rival outfits as "criminals" and advised the government to ignore them.
MEND's campaign for a fairer share of Nigeria's multi-billion-dollar oil wealth for residents of the delta dealt a substantial cut to output, until a 2009 government amnesty ended the unrest.
But the Avengers have claimed a string of devastating attacks against the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as oil majors Shell, Chevron and Eni since February.