*Two legs shattered
*Commanded his men to disband at death point
* 10 ex-militants in joint flight
BY EMMA AMAIZE
EX-MILITANT leader and commander of the Niger-Delta Liberation Force, NDLF, “General” John Togo, died a painful and miserable death following the injury he sustained in an aerial bombardment by the Joint Task Force, JTF, on the Niger-Delta.
Sunday Vanguard learnt authoritatively that the warlord died on Saturday, May 14, after his two legs were shattered by soldiers, who took him and his fighters unawares on May 12 between 2.00 and 2.30 p.m. with jet fighters and other war gadgets.
But the soldiers who performed the exploit did not know that they wounded their target gravely, as they had to return to base after the strike because of the nature of the operation.
Unknown to the task force, which debunked media reports that Togo, who it promised a reward N10 million, last year, to anybody that would give useful information to his capture, was dead, the ex-militant was crippled by its soldiers before his death.
It was gathered that Togo relocated from his Israel Barracks, off the Atlantic Ocean, which he thought was impregnable shortly before his death, fearing that the task force might have discovered the location.
It was at one of his new camps, which the task force discovered through intelligence information, that he was attacked.
His combatants, who were astounded that their leader was so wounded, carried him to a riverine community in Bomadi local government area for treatment. But it was obvious that he would not survive because the injury was severe.
“For two days”, said our impeccable source, “John was between life and death. He suffered and was practically weeping, urging that everything should be done to save his life. His boys hoped against life that he will survive even as they saw him dying”.
When it dawned on Togo that he would not make it despite the hope against hope, he ordered his boys to bury him if he gave up the ghost and disband immediately.
The man, Togo, who had cheated death many times in his life, died and, as directed, his boys took him to the outskirt of the community and buried him.
It was a sad day for the NDLF and, as their leader directed, the senior members immediately announced the disbandment of the group and asked the fighters to run for dear lives.
One of them was shot dead at Aladja, near Warri by men of the JTF following a tip-off while another one was arrested.
Sunday Vanguard was told that the task force believed strongly that the news of Togo’s death was a diversionary ploy by him and his alleged sponsors to make it stop the manhunt for him, and, therefore, intensified its search.
“It is not the task force wants to make life unbearable for people by continuing with its siege to suspected hideouts of Togo in some riverine communities but the ex-militant leader had caused the death of military personnel and no soldier serving in the task force was ready to spare him”, a source said.
It is the same fear of the unknown that made Togo not to come out from the creek even after he promised to surrender December, last year, following an attack by the JTF on his community, Ayakoromor in Burutu local government area of Delta State.
A number of JTF soldiers were ambushed and killed in November, last year, when they swooped on Togo’s militant camp, at the outskirt of Ayakoromor. Some were also injured and military gunboats destroyed.
It was the anger that made the task force to invade Ayakoromor, last year, and destroyed some houses, which the Federal Government ordered it to rebuild.
Togo was afraid that even though he had sworn to surrender his arms, the JTF would kill him if he came out to the open.
“That was why he had not come out since December, last year, when he apologized openly in the media for returning back to militancy. I am aware that the Presidential Committee on Amnesty, led by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta, Hon Kingsley Kuku, was handling his matter to find a soft-landing for him before the latest development”, our source added.
Between the 10th and 12th of May, JTF personnel, on routine patrol, were reportedly attacked by Togo’s boys who suspected that they had come to attack them.
As later confirmed by the spokesman of the task force, who stated earlier that the “fog of war” was not clear, some soldiers were wounded by the militants in the gun battle and had been evacuated.
The task force continued with its search for Togo and even with the news that the ex-militant leader was dead, it would still want to see his corpse before it would agree that he was actually dead.
Our usually dependable source said the Presidency is already aware that Togo was dead.
The ex-militant leader was married with children before his death and even when the task force was looking for him, a source said he came to Warri under disguise to see his family and still went back.
Kuku, the presidential adviser on the amnesty programme, had, on Friday, said Togo’s whereabouts were unknown.
He also said some of the militants already going through one of the training programs of the Amnesty Office in southern Africa as pilots last week successfully carried out joint flights.