By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”AMID reports that the graves of some soldiers that were declared missing-in-action (MIA) by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta have been uncovered, the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), which butchered and buried the soldiers in the graves, yesterday audaciously unveiled a tactic that service personnel of the Nigeria military could adopt whenever they found themselves in the creeks to avoid being killed in action (KIA).
It also renewed its warning to oil workers that operation Hurricane Piper Alpha, launched by the militants was real and ordered them to evacuate from the entire region.
One of the strategies, according to the militant group, in an online statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, specially directed to junior officers of the JTF, who the lot fall on to carry out assignments in the creeks,Â was for the soldiers not to shoot first at the militants or they would reply with more deadly strikes.
His words: â€œSome of your colleagues have begged for their lives and even told us of loved ones left behind, we sympathize with you and that is why it is important to understand that if you have an overzealous soldier or sailor by your side, caution him not to shoot at us or else it will end in a bloodbath to our advantageâ€.
He explained that in the case of attack on the Otunana flow station on Tuesday night, â€œOur attack did not claim the lives of any one because we were not fired upon as we approached. We will not shoot first, except fired uponâ€.
According to him, â€œour mission is to destroy the facilities that are being used to generate funds to buy bombs to destroy our already traumatized communities and the killing of soldiers becomes necessary only in self- defenceâ€.
â€œOur fightâ€, he stated, â€œis just and we expect the government to do the right thing peacefully or we will have to negotiate true federalism which includes fiscal federalism when the oil and gas exports are down to zeroâ€.
MEND told the soldiers in the detailed letter that â€œunfortunately, our paths are crossing at a time of war instead of a time of peace. With the potentials of our great country from the North to the South and the East to the West, one would have expected that almost 50 years after independence we will be meeting in an atmosphere of true federalism, prosperity, mutual respect and genuine peaceâ€.
â€œAlas, this is not the case today where you have been posted to fight an unjust war against your fellow brothers all for the sake of blood oil.
â€œSome of you have a conscience. As you sit behind sandbags watching the gas flare from the oil wells, you wonder why the oil that is being processed every day and night is generating revenue for the country to develop other regions while the host communities remain in darkness, poverty, misery and to add salt to injury are bombed indiscriminately.
â€œThen, there are others who have come with an ignorant and arrogant attitude, developed by a strange doctrine that they are superior to our people in tribe, religion, culture and language.
They have been told that their mission is to ensure that oil continues to flow from the South to the North and gas from the South to the West and the dollars generated be used to build super highways and buildings in those regions, while the natives should be grateful to receive the crumbs and play second fiddle in an environment that is degraded by years of greed and insensitivity.
â€œBy late 2005, some of us decided that the nonsense going on in our country has to stop. We formed the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta or MEND to bring out the wrong that have long been swept under the carpet and mend it rightâ€, he stated.
â€œWe had to take up arms to fight a system that is deaf and rigid to change. This fight has cost many of your colleagues and ours the ultimate sacrifice.
â€œToday, we hear a lot of talk about criminality hijacking our noble struggle and for that reason everyone must be treated as criminals and exterminated.
â€œCriminality is in every facet of the Nigerian society. Have you noticed that the fish starts to get rotten from the head?
â€œBy ascending to the position of President through an electoral fraud, Yarâ€™Adua is an
illegal commander â€“in- chief. Hijacking the peoples mandate is the highest form of criminality and therefore any order you take to destroy your fellow citizens from such a leader is having their blood on your head.
â€œWhile calling the kettle black, criminals can be found in the armed forces, the customs, police, immigration, ministries, banking sector and National Assembly. I am sure you have been reading one scandal or the other by the same men who order you to be sent to fight an unjust war while they relax in the comfort of their home or guest houses heaping a fortune for themselves and immediate family.
â€œSome of your officers may even be interested in having your beautiful wife for themselves so they post you to guard a facility in the middle of the dark forest hoping you will get killed or missing in action.
This is a possibility and you can learn from King David.
â€œWhen your colleagues protested for their stolen allowances due them after serving at the UN, the army rewarded their efforts with a life jail sentence.
â€œThe generals who ruled this country and who continue to play a role in the government today are among those that have put the country in the mess we find ourselves. Yet, not one of them is in jail or has to face the Jerry Rawlings treatment.
â€œIt was for such wickedness that the late Major Gideon G. Orkar and some gallant junior officers and men tried to change. We remember them today and salute them for their courageâ€, the militant group asserted.
Quoting from Mao Tse-tung, MEND said, â€œWhen you want to fight us, we donâ€™t let you and you canâ€™t find us.
But when we want to fight you, we make sure you canâ€™t get away and we hit you squarely…. and wipe you out…The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursueâ€.