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Security beef-up at Atlas Cove over fresh threat

By Emma Amaize
LAGOS — SECURITY around the Atlas Cove jetty in Lagos was yesterday beefed up over fears that men of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) may stage another attack on the Jetty in Lagos, which was repaired by the Federal Government a few days ago.

The militant group has said, Tuesday, that it would revisit any oil facility destroyed during its suspended Hurricane Piper Alpha and Hurricane Moses, which is repaired within its self-proclaimed 60-day ceasefire.
Vanguard learnt that following the fresh warning by MEND, security within and around the Jetty was beefed up by the Federal Government, which was not ready to take chances.

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Meanwhile, fear of a reprisal attack has gripped some Niger-Deltans living in Lagos, as the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) was alleged to have mobilised to hit back at Niger-Deltans for the attack on the Atlas Cove Jetty by MEND.
But MEND’s spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, in an exclusive online response to an inquiry by Vanguard said the militant group would not attack the Jetty.

His words: “The Atlas Cove attack was symbolic, so it will not fall under the threat of a revisit”.
On the recent call by President Umaru Yar’Adua during his visit to Bayelsa state on militants to give up their arms or they would be exposed by their kinsmen, he said, “The President is referring to some of our people, including some ex-militants who have sold their birthright. They have been paid to spy against their own people and are doing it for money and not for loyalty”.

According to him, “Yar’Adua should put the same energy he is using in his divide and rule to address the root issues of the region such as true fiscal federalism”.

On why the militant group was still dogged in its opposition to the amnesty proclaimed by the President, who practically swore that it was not a ruse, he said, “an amnesty that conveniently avoids the root issues that started the militancy in the first place cannot be genuine”.

The MEND spokesman also commented on the guarantee, Tuesday, by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta that it would not arrest any repentant militant that surrendered his arms and ammunition, he asked: “ Is it the same JTF that was caught on tape executing two civilians or that denies abducting the Agadagba of Egbema, that has displaced hundreds of persons, that has not accounted for the Gbaramatu monarch, that kills travelers on the waterways and cannot own up to panic shooting that we should trust?

“They have no moral justification to talk and it is better they just shut up. Where is Egberipapa who was the original amnesty seeker even when it did not exist?

And where are the two men who wanted to hand over their dynamites and weapons but were arrested when they approached the JTF for information”, he said, adding, “The same men were paraded for journalists but can we be sure they have not been killed after the news conference?

“We are calling on all criminals to hand over their weapons because that assurance is for them and not for the freedom fighters with a cause”, he asserted.


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