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MEND raises alarm over fresh threat to ceasefire

*Accuses JTF of extra-judicial killing

By Emma Amaize
Port Harcourt- MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), today, announced new threat to the 60-day ceasefire it declared on July 15 consequent upon the release of its leader, Henry Okah by the Federal Government.

This is the second time the militant group is announcing threat to the ceasefire. The first was barely 24 hours after it declared cessation of hostilities when it alleged that the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta was heading towards some of its camps around the boundary between Delta and Ondo to attack militants despite the amnesty that was proclaimed by the Federal Government.

Coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre of the JTF,  Colonel Rabe Abubakar denied the allegation at that time, saying the soldiers were on their normal routine duty in the region, adding that the fact that the government had proclaimed amnesty did not mean that the task force was no longer protecting oil facilities in the region.

In an electronic mail statement, Tuesday, entitled, “Threat to Ceasefire” by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, the group said, “On the morning of Monday, August 17, 2009, the JTF in Sama, Asari Toru Local Government Area of Rivers state executed an unarmed man and dumped his body into the river”.

“The youths from the area mobilized and carried out a reprisal attack on the army unit responsible for the extra-judicial killing and killed a soldier and went away with his rifle.

“Such irresponsible actions by the military even if it is targeted at civilians is not acceptable and can jeopardize the current ceasefire if repeated”, the militant group stated.

According to him, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) stands behind communities who take actions to defend themselves and retaliate extra-judicial killings by the military”.


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