4 March 2012
By Emma Amaize
An ex-militant who identified himself as the leader of the group which, on Thursday, shot dead a lieutenant colonel and two naval ratings attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger Delta, at the weekend, opened up on why they struck.
According to him, they killed the military officials because of Federal Government’s refusal to incorporate ex-militants who had been left out of the amnesty programme.
The ex-militant leader simply gave his name as Victor.
He spoke exclusively to Sunday Vanguard yesterday, just as Niger Delta activists and Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, raised the alarm over the death in prison of one of the suspects arrested in connection with the 2010 independence day bombings in Abuja.
But the special adviser to the president on Niger Delta and Chairman of the post-amnesty programme, Hon Kingsley Kuku, in a response, said only President Goodluck Jonathan had the power to include those left out of the scheme after October 4, 2009.
‘How we overpowered soldiers’
Contrary to reports that they were pirates, the ex-militant leader said, “We are not pirates. We are ex-militants who the Federal Government refused to accommodate in the amnesty programme after the Minister of Niger-Delta, Elder Godsday Orubebe, Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta and Chairman of the Post-Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, and others appealed to us to drop our arms and ammunition”.
He also said it was not true that his group opened fire on the military men, saying, “They were the ones that first opened fire at us and we retaliated”.
The ex-militant leader said it was easy to subdue the soldiers because he and his boys were under the protection of the Ijaw god of war.
According to him, unconfirmed reports stated that some of ‘our men have been killed but we are yet to get details of the incident’.
He, however, debunked reports that it was his group that also killed four policemen at a checkpoint, same day, in
, saying, “There are many other groups moving about, I cannot say which of them now”. Bayelsa State