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Tension grips residents as reformed militants protest in Yenagoa

By  Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Residents of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Monday night had cause to take refuge in the comfort of their homes as repentant militants went on yet another round of rampage in protest over their allowances.

The Kpansia section of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road was temporary blocked by the protesting ex creek boys causing traffic gridlock for residents returning home after the day’s work and others coming in and going out of the capital city.

The protest, the fourth in the series of public outrage, which jolted residents came up barely 24 hours after the deadline for submission of arms and ammunition by the various militant groups in the troubled Niger Delta.

It was learnt that trouble started when the peaceful payment of the ex-militants at the Isaac Boro Peace Park at Ovom in the heart of the capital city degenerated into confusion over an alleged attempt by some youths to scuttle the exercise.

The youths,it was learnt, could not be identified by any of the camps and as such were shut out of the arena.

Angered by the development, they were said to have mobilized and took to the streets of the capital in protest over being denied the ‘booty’ of the amnesty.

Vehicular movement on the Mbiama-Yenagoa road was disrupted by the irate youths, thereby causing gridlock on the road.

While some motorists who got wind of the chaotic situation on the route made a quick detour to adjoining streets to link the Isaac Boro expressway, others who ran into the protesters were not that lucky as they were dispossessed of their valuables.

The timely intervention of security agencies, however, prevented the situation from escalating into a major crisis.

Efforts to get the comment of the coordinator of the state chapter of the presidential amnesty, Rev Obegha Oworibo, proved abortive but a source told Vanguard that the committee had been doing its best to salvage the situation.

The source added that the list of militants submitted by some of the camps kept increasing, thus making the work of the committee difficult.

“Unknown to many, some youths who have nothing to do with any of the militant camp boys have been piling pressures on the committee to have their names included as ex militants,” the source said.

But a JTF source said the Monday night incident was the usual protest by ex-militants over their allowance, saying it had nothing to do with the security outfit.

“I have spoken with the sector commander and I can confirm to you that there was no shoot out between the JTF and the militants yesterday. What happened was the usual protest by militants for their allowances, it had noting to do with the JTF,” the source said.

It would be recalled that similar scenario played out itself penultimate week when ex-militants claiming to belong to Boyloaf camp took to the streets protesting non-payment of disarmament allowances.

But, the ex-militant leader, Commander Ebikabowei Victor Ben, a.k.a Boyloaf, denied the incident, describing it as a calculated attempt to blackmail him.


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