Nige­rian mil­i­tary pur­sues mil­i­tants in oil-pro­duc­ing re­gion

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

LA­GOS: Nige­ria's mil­i­tary pur­sued mil­i­tants in the coun­try's main oil-pro­duc­ing re­gion on Thurs­day af­ter raid­ing three camps al­legedly run by a no­to­ri­ous gang leader blamed for a se­ries of crimes.

The raids in south­ern Delta state tar­geted camps be­lieved run by a mil­i­tant who goes by the name John Togo, said Colonel Ti­mothy Antigha, who said he could not yet say whether he had been cap­tured.

A se­nior mil­i­tary source said Togo, whose real name is thought to be John Esoko, had not been cap­tured and sol­diers were still pur­su­ing him.

His gang is blamed for piracy, rob­bery and rapes in Delta state, said Antigha, who ac­cused Togo and oth­ers of us­ing mil­i­tancy as an ex­cuse to com­mit crimes.

Togo had ac­cepted an amnesty of­fered to mil­i­tants by the govern­ment last year, but has since re­turned to il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, Antigha said.

"This mil­i­tancy thing has been used by crim­i­nal gangs who used it as an av­enue to en­rich them­selves," he said. "Has any of them gone back to their com­mu­nity to build one school?"

A mil­i­tant group be­lieved to be run by Togo, the Niger Delta Lib­er­a­tion Force, claimed more than 100 peo­ple were killed in Wed­nes­day's raids.

Antigha said the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties was un­clear, but ar­gued that any­one killed would have been a crim­i­nal since only camps were raided. He de­clined to pro­vide de­tails on the raids them­selves.

The mil­i­tary also re­cently raided camps in Rivers state be­lieved to be­long to a mil­i­tant who goes by the name Obese, who was blamed for a se­ries of ab­duc­tions of for­eign and Nige­rian oil work­ers. Po­lice say he has been ar­rested.

MEND is the main mil­i­tant group op­er­at­ing in the vast creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta, but it is be­lieved to have splin­tered, par­tic­u­larly over the amnesty of­fered last year.

The group-the Move­ment for the Eman­ci­pa­tion of the Niger Delta-has also been seen as an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion for crim­i­nal gangs, though it claims to be fight­ing for a fairer dis­tri­bu­tion of oil rev­enue. -Afp

SEOUL: South Korean sol­diers stand guard at a guard post near the demil­i­tarised zone sep­a­rat­ing the two Koreas, dur­ing a photo op­por­tu­nity in Che­o­r­won, about 80 km north­east of Seoul. -Ap

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