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Ijaw leader condemns killing of N’Delta militants

Posted by By ISHIOMA OKOLO-GIFT, Warri on 2006/10/10 | Views: 572 |

Ijaw leader condemns killing of N’Delta militants


An Ijaw leader, Dr Bello Oboko has condemned the comment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai that the military were not in error in killing about fifteen Ijaw militants in the creeks of Letugbene, Bayelsa State, on August 20.

An Ijaw leader, Dr Bello Oboko has condemned the comment of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai that the military were not in error in killing about fifteen Ijaw militants in the creeks of Letugbene, Bayelsa State, on August 20.

Agwai had queried: ‘“Were they not carrying weapons? Were they supposed to carry weapons? Are they authorised? Are they constitutionally given right to carry weapons? These are the questions we have to ask ourselves. In this country, all of us have grievances. Is the only way we can address our grievances to carry weapons and fight?”
But Oboko lamented that the CDS and his likes were “endorsing extra-judicial executions of lives they were paid to protect, in a democracy, while claiming to be apostles of same.”

He said the issue of the negotiators bearing weapons was immaterial in the circumstance of their death, arguing that they were in the best position to tell the truth.

His words: “the dead were in the best position to defend themselves. The Army had killed them, so what is the rationale of wasting time asking whether they were carrying weapons? If the Nigerian Army or the military, claiming the prevalence of a “democratic environment”, wanted to prove whether they were bearing arms, they should have caught the youths alive so they could defend themselves.”

He added: “I want to note that the late negotiators were acting in obedience to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s call to Ijaw leaders to employ African Community Values/Communitisation to redress the Letugbene saga and indeed, the recurring hostage crisis. That was the basis of the involvement of the deceased in the struggle for democracy and true federalism.
“What I can confidently say is that it is not the practice in Ijaw culture for negotiators in the circumstance to carry weapons as though they were out to fight their Letugbene kinsmen with whom they sought dialogue (African community values) to release the hostage.”

On the reported exchange of gunfire by the negotiators with the military, Oboko had more questions: “How many soldiers died in the so-called exchange of gunfire? Were the pastor and the chiefs in the boat also engaged in the exchange of gunfire with the soldiers,” he queried.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.