Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nigerian ex-militant mourns 'martyr' Kadhafi

21 October 2011

A Nigerian ex-militant leader who claims to have lived in Libya and to have had links with Moamer Kadhafi called him a "martyr" on Friday and vowed that his killing would be avenged.

"Kadhafi spilled his blood as a martyr to rekindle the fire of revolution all over the world," Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, head of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, told AFP. "Those who murdered him will not go scot-free."

There have been reports that Asari, who previously led a violent militancy in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region, received military training in Libya, but he was vague on the details of his stay there.

Kadhafi was accused of using Libya's oil wealth to fund and arm rebel groups across Africa.

"Even if I got training in Libya, what is wrong with getting training in Libya?" said Asari, a 48-year-old who was born into a Christian family but who converted to Islam in 1988.

He said he spent time in Libya in 1990 and 1991.

"I was invited by the Libyan government and given a scholarship to go study Islam," he said. "When I arrived in Libya, they thought that I had revolutionary ideas, so I became close to the leadership and I started talking to them."

Asari said he met other foreigners with similar ideas while in Libya.

He said he returned and held talks with Kadhafi in early 2010, and claimed he was given $100,000 during that trip. He said however that his movement was not given significant financial support by Kadhafi over the years.

"The people of the world will rise up against this," he said of Kadhafi's death. "The time is coming and they will regret this murder they committed against the people."

Asari argued that Libya under Kadhafi had the "highest literacy rate and the best health care in the whole of Africa. As a foreigner, I saw with my eyes."

Asari's group was involved in violence in Nigeria particularly in the early part of last decade.

He was arrested in 2005 on treason charges after he threatened to relaunch his armed campaign for an independent republic in the Niger Delta, but was released in 2007.

Asari says that his movement is now on "sabbatical" since a native of the Niger Delta, Goodluck Jonathan, has been elected president of the country, which is Africa's most populous nation and its largest oil producer.

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