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Soldiers foil militants’ kidnap plot

Posted by By HENRY CHUKWURAH Port Harcourt, FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa and EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri on 2007/07/12 | Views: 403 |

Soldiers foil militants’ kidnap plot


Barely 24 hours after abducted three-year-old Briton, Margaret Hill was released by Niger Delta militants, the Nigerian military on Monday night shot dead one militant and arrested two others at Mbiama, a border town between Bayelsa and Rivers State.

Barely 24 hours after abducted three-year-old Briton, Margaret Hill was released by Niger Delta militants, the Nigerian military on Monday night shot dead one militant and arrested two others at Mbiama, a border town between Bayelsa and Rivers State.

The militants were suspected to be on a kidnap mission at the camp of the Daewoo oil servicing company.
Investigations revealed that the militants armed with AK 47 rifles stormed the area at about 9pm shooting sporadically to cause confusion so that they could have an easy access into the company’s premises.

However, luck was not on their side as men of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) who have been placed on red alert rose to the occasion and engaged the militants in a gun duel that lasted one and half hours. The task force eventually succeeded in repelling them, killing one arresting two, while others fled.
The exchange of gunfire was said to have sent panic into most residents as they scampered into nearby bush for safety till the military was able to overpower the militants.

After recovering some arms left behind by the fleeing militants, the JTF men took the body of the deceased and those arrested to their camp at the Osiri Hotel and later moved to their headquarters in Warri. The arrested militants identified as Ifeanyi Nome and Bobo Igoniwari were already facing interrogation at the JTF headquarters on Tuesday.

Mr Joshua Benamaisa, coordinator of the Bayelsa Volunteer, a security outfit, confirmed the incident and said those arrested are already helping in investigations.

"Yes, militants attempted to attack Daewoo on Monday night but they were repelled by the military. One of them was killed in the process while two were arrested. Those arrested have been moved to the JTF headquarters in Warri and are helping in investigations," he said
Commander JTF, Brigadier General Lawrence Ngubane, who also confirmed the incident, warned criminal gangs against cashing in on the state of affairs in the region to make money.

He said, "the people are making money out of hostage taking, even though governments in the area are doing everything possible to develop the neglected area. It is unfortunate that these criminals do not want to give peace a chance.
"I do not care about anybody with genuine agitation because if you are carrying arms, you are contravening the law, because it is only soldiers and other law enforcement agents that are qualified to carry arms. So, if anybody is carrying arms and walking around this place, I see him as a militant."

Speaking in the same vein, the Army Task Group Commander, Col. Obi Umahi, told newsmen that the militants stormed the company to abduct foreigners and demand ransom for their release.
When Daily Sun got to the Korean firm on Tuesday, security had been beefed up as more soldiers had been deployed to the camp.

Also at the SAIPEM Company at Kpansia 11 and DAEWOO camp at Ogu, soldiers have been placed on red alert and were seen conducting a stop and search to prevent any reprisal attack from militants.
Meanwhile Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) has punctured hopes of an imminent end to the spate of kidnappings in the region particularly in Rivers State.
This, according to the organization, is because of the huge financial gains the filthy lucre attracts to the hostage takers.

Speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt , the Deputy leader of Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari-led NDPVF, Asabuja, held out little hope of an end to abductions in the area in the near future.
This, he said, was because those involved in the act would be reluctant to let go of the inherent pecuniary gains.
"The monetary involvement has opened the floodgate for formation of more militant groups in the state," he noted

The only likely solution to the problem, Asabuja said, is the establishment of a community police that should be managed by the NDPVF to check acts of terrorism.
The NDPVF second-in-command urged also for job creation schemes for youths in Rivers State.

He blamed a former governor and a former minister from the state for laying the foundation for the spate of terrorism in the region and called for the prosecution of the two former top government officials.

He alleged that the two men funded the importation of "no less that four container loads of arms and ammunition" that were distributed to members of a particular cult group in the state to fight the opposition during a previous election.

The arms which could not be retrieved after the election, Asabuja said, are now being used to make money through hostage taking.
"All the security agencies especially the police and SSS know what I am saying. They cannot claim ignorance of what happened," he said.

Asabuja assured that contrary to speculations in some quarters, Dokubo-Asari has not lost control of the Niger Delta struggle.
The NDPVF deputy leader assured that its members were not involved in the "illegal acts of hostage taking."

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.