Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on
Just as members of the political class are preparing to present candidates that should take over from the present rulers in 2007, cultists in the Niger Delta region are reportedly finalizing strategies that would make them relevant in the political schemes
Just as members of the political class are preparing to present candidates that should take over from the present rulers in 2007, cultists in the Niger Delta region are reportedly finalizing strategies that would make them relevant in the political schemes that would soon enter top gear across the country.
Telegraph investigations indicate that already, the various groups have formed alignments.
In the 2003 elections, some politicians had sought the assistance of paramilitary groups that are popularly known as cults.
The result, we have gathered as fresh elections draw close, is a growing feeling among the region's unemployed youths who have found solace in the cult movement that arms won victory and could do so again in 2007.
It is not clear at the moment, if there are politicians desperate enough to recruit their services.
What is clear is that from money possibly generated through old patronage or through illegal bunkering, various paramilitary groups have the wherewithal to acquire these killer weapons without external assistance.
Even before the political class joined the armed race, the oil companies at one point or the order have been accused of financing arms supply in their spirited efforts sometimes, to pitch natives against each other.
The situation in the Niger Delta, many in the region agree, is frightening. And with hunger and what seems like a deem future staring youths of the region in the face, guns have gradually become the law.
There is for now the erroneous impression that the proliferation of guns is more rampant in Rivers State.
Knowledgeable sources say this might not be correct. They say in Bayelsa and Delta states, there could be more guns than may exist in Rivers. In the case of Rivers State, some guns have been in action of late, regardless of the government sponsored effort to retrieve them, explaining perhaps why there is a feeling the state might be the only flash point in the region for now.
In Odioma where soldiers struck in Bayelsa, several armed cults including Teme are believed to be on the prowl.
In Warri, soldiers have fought fierce battles with protesting armed youths as well.
Across the Niger Delta, guns are believed to be entering every day and our information is that owners of illegal bunkering vessels have learnt to exchange oil for guns with those they do business.
Some within the Rivers cult world say that claims that Soboma George and Ateke Tom are fighting themselves may not be entirely correct.
According to this school of thought, differences are arising as some members who formally belonged to some groups have changed their minds and want out in order perhaps, to pursue their own agenda for 2007.
The feeling among those who are changing loyalties, impeccable sources reveal, is that their erstwhile masters have made so much money while they who have been more or less foot soldiers have nothing to show for it.
Where all of these would end, given the inability of the police force to contain arms proliferation, is unclear. But our sources hint that the old weapons, primarily AK 47s which were in use in 2007 are child's play when compared with what the militant groups now have.
It would appear that G3s and other high calibre guns such as M16s are the ones in vogue at the moment.
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