Niger Delta Militants ceasefire for Xmas
MILITANTS in the Niger Delta have announced cease-fire on December 25. In an online statement to Sunday Vanguard signed by Jomo Gbomo, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) said it was done in the spirit of Christmas.
* Rivers govt imposes curfew on Okrika
* Tom Ateke gives FG 7-day ultimatum
The one paragraph statement read,” Effective 12 midnight, December 25, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) will observe a 24-hour ceasefire in the spirit of Christmas. Cessation of hostilities and kidnapping of oil expatriates can be guaranteed during this time frame.”
Meanwhile, security operatives who commented on the statement said it would be ignored by the military as it could be a ploy to carry out an un-expected attack on oil facilities. In a related development, Rivers State government has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Okrika local government. In a statement signed by the secretary to the state government, Mr. Magnus Abe, he said the curfew became necessary to restore lasting peace in the area. The curfew which begins from 6.00 p.m. and ends 6.00 a.m. is to be enforced in the area by the Joint Task Force.
The statement said that there had been no amendment to the curfew in other parts of the state which begins from 12 midnight to 6.00 a.m. Militants had invaded an NNPC jetty in Okrika, last week, killing several persons. Meanwhile, leader of Niger Delta Vigilante in Rivers State, Mr. Ateke Tom, has given a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to replace his destroyed property by the Joint Military Task Force and refund his looted N5.6 million, failing which he would unleash terror in the region.
In an online message, Tom said the Federal Government must rebuild his two houses that were burnt by the JTF when his property and men were attacked in his Okochiri Evil Forest about, two weeks ago, on allegation that Tom was responsible for the series of piracy on the sea-route between Port Harcourt and Bonny Island.
Commander of the JTF, Brig-Gen. Y. Bello, told newsmen in his 2 Brigade command headquarters that intelligence report linked Ateke to series of atrocities in the creeks and sophisticated weapons and ammunition, including dynamites were recovered from his houses and cars. Ateke said 30 goats, 20 rams, 300 bags of rice and N5.6 million were removed from his houses before they were set ablaze by the JTF.