Nigerian Rebels Call on Carter to Mediate

MEND asks former president for help.

ByKirit Radia and Anna Schecter

April 24, 2008— -- Fresh off his controversial meetings with Hamas, former President Jimmy Carter appears to be in hot demand among rebel groups around the world.

The Nigerian rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) solicited his help in mediating between it and the Nigerian government in a letter addressed to President Bush sent out earlier this week by the group's spokesman, Jomo Gbomo.

"Mr. Carter is not in denial as the rest of you who brand freedom fighters as terrorists, forgetting their integral role in any substantial peace process just as he has demonstrated in his meeting with Hamas," said Gbomo.

[click here to read the full MEND statement]

MEND, which claims it is fighting for a more just distribution of the country's billions of dollars of oil revenue, has attacked two pipelines in the past week. The group is responsible for kidnapping more than 100 foreign oil workers last year, and has repeatedly attacked oil facilities in the Niger Delta region since late 2005.

Gbomo also claimed responsibility for an attack on a pipeline Monday in the letter. The attack was prompted by "continuous injustice" in the Niger Delta, according to the letter, which said the "root issues" in the Delta have not been addressed by the "illegal and insincere government."

"The ripple effect of this attack will touch your economy and people one way or the other and hope we now have your attention," the letter said.

The Nigerian Embassy did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

The State Dept, which insists it counseled against Carter's meetings with Hamas, was unaware of MEND's request for Carter as a go-between. Spokesman Sean McCormack said Wednesday, "I'm not sure that the former president has expressed an interest in dealing with that matter."

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