Vanguard (Lagos)

22 January 2007

Nigeria: MEND Threatens to Kill Hostages

Warri — MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which hijacked a cargo ship, weekend, in Warri and took 24 Phillipines hostage, reiterated, yesterday, that the kidnapped foreign nationals would be killed tomorrow if at the expiration of its 72 hour ultimatum to the Federal Government, its demands were not met.

An official of the group who re affirmed that "we have 24 Phillipines in our custody" said that it was not true that the Delta State Government had made contact with the people that kidnapped the hostages.

"As I speak to you now, the state government has not contacted us. If they did, I would have known. So, nobody should say that they have reached us, they have not and what we are saying is that the former governor of Bayelsa State, Cheif Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Front, Alhaji M. Asari Dokubo should be released",. he said.

He pointed out that the consignment in the cargo had not been released to anybody and that all the 24 Phillipines were being taken care off well, adding, "I want to correct the impression we got from your Sunday Vanguard report of our action that we are asking Bayelsa State government to give account of the 13 per cent derivation fund, we did not accuse Bayelsa government of embezzling the funds, it is the Delta and Rivers governments we said should give account of the 13 per cent derivation fund the govenors collected".

Asked if they ate well on Saturday when they kidnapped them, he said: "They ate, we gave them food and they have to wait for government to answer our demands or we will sacrifice their lives to Ijaw gods".

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