18 June 2007

Nigeria: Militants Engage Soldiers in Reprisal Attack

Port Harcourt — Four days after the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Mujahid Asari Dokubo, regained his freedom, the fragile peace in the Niger Delta snapped again yesterday as militants from the zone went on a bloody reprisal battle with the Nigerian Army.

On his part, the freed Dokubo vowed not rest until he brought former President Olusegun Obasanjo to book for alleged gross abuse of human rights, endemic corruption and non-performance.

Yesterday's clash between militants and soldiers was to protest the killing of nine of the warriors during a battle at an oil facility in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital six days ago.

Details about the casualty in the reprisal attack of the militants were not too clear but the figure of the dead was said to be on the high side. The renewed battle was still raging as at the time of this report.

The militants were said to have gained an upper hand as they reportedly launched a surprise attack on soldiers from an oil facility located at Ogboinbiri community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa State.

About 12 soldiers were said to have been captured by the militants in the process.

THISDAY gathered that, embarrassed at the loss of nine warriors in the hands of soldiers, the militants had written the Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger Delta, Brig. Gen. Lawrence Ngubani, intimating him of their intention to invade the Ogboinbiri Flow Station in retaliation for the killing of their boys.

True to their words, the militants arrived the location around 10 am and before long, a full scale battle broke out.

Confirming the situation at Ogboinbiri in a text message to THISDAY at about 3.45 pm yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the JTF, Major Omale Ochaguwuba, said, "Yes they attacked but details are still sketchy."

It would be recalled that barely two days after renouncing violence and the release of the last set of hostages in the state to Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva-Sam, militants engaged soldiers in a gun battle on Tuesday which left nine militants dead.

On Obasanjo, the NDPVF leader who addressed the press at his 13 Agudama Street, D-Line, Port Harcourt described the former president as the most corrupt leader Nigeria ever had, alleging that the former President pretended to be clean while he helped himself to the collective wealth of the country.

He also accused him of being the most tribal by making six trillionaires under his regime out of which only Dangote was not from his Yoruba tribe with the money from the Niger Delta.

Dokubo vowed to use the rest of his life to fight and ensure that Obasanjo was brought to book.

He alleged that Obasanjo wanted to break his spirit in detention after his attempt to bribe him with an oil block and the offer of Director of Youths in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was resisted by him.

"I want to share with you my experience in the gulag of the devilish and wicked government of Obasanjo. I will fight Obasanjo until he is brought to justice for the gross abuse of human rights, endemic corruption and inefficiency that were widespread in his government.

Dokubo said"if we don't bring Obasanjo to justice, whatever government has come in, if we don't bring this evil man to justice there is no way this entity called Nigeria can move forward. I have made a contract with myself and God that I will fight this man until he is brought to justice".

He said there was the erroneous belief that because past leader of the Niger Delta were silenced and killed and nothing happened, that it would continue that way.

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