Tuesday, March 11, 2008

JTF uncovers Ateke's arms dump in P-Harcourt

Hi folks,

Just like Asari's write up this is quite revealing. I hope these guys can be brought to book. I keep asking in whose interest are these militants fighting for? Imagine private Arms dump and illegal underground pipeline in his house. Robin Hood stole and gave to the poor and so did Lawrence Anini so which of the poor community have benefited from this thieves called militants?
Read on

JTF uncovers Ateke's arms dump in P-Harcourt

Written by George Onah & Jimitota Onoyume

Vanguard Monday, 10 March 2008

*Illegal underground pipeline from refinery to Ateke's house also discovered
*Rivers Truth Commission gets 116 memoranda

THE Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta has seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition from warlord Ateke Tom, and uncovered an underground illegal pipeline laid from the Okrika refinery jetty to one of his homes at Okochim.

Senate President, Chief David Mark, who was conducted round the illegal pipeline yesterday in company of Governor Rotimi Amaechi expressed shock at the findings. He was also shown the seized arms and ammunition.

Among the seized weapons are one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), magazines and assorted rifles.

Commander of the JTF in the state, Brigadier-General Sariki Bello, who conducted the Senate President and Governor Amaechi round said it appeared Ateke was using the underground pipeline for illegal bunkering.

Ateke and his men have been driven further into the creeks by the JTF.
In a recent interview, Ateke threatened to resume hostilities if government did not rehabilitate his houses destroyed by the task force last year.

Senator Mark who was accompanied by Senator Saminu Turaki expressed surprise at the large cache of arms and ammunition discovered and described the development as unfortunate.

The National Assembly, he said, would not defend anyone having in his possession such amount of arms and ammunition.

“We are really shocked and taken aback by the amount of arms and ammunition we have seen. I think it is certainly uncalled for,” he said.

He expressed confidence in the ability of the Rivers State governor to handle the situation, and lauded the military for the discovery.

Speaking later to newsmen, the army PRO in the state, Lt.-Col Sagir Musa, said a standing team had been deplored in the area to ensure that cultists did not return to the community.

“Mandate given to the troops is to ensure that militants do not return to the area. There must be aggressive cordon and search in suspected houses and uncompleted buildings. It is this approach that led to the discovery,” he said.

According to him, the army is to intensify its operations in the area as part of strategy to sustain the peace in the town. Governor Amaechi imposed a dusk to dawn curfew in the area which community sources said had been reviewed to begin from 8 p.m.

Rivers Truth Commission gets 116 memo

However, the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission says it has so far received 116 memoranda from the public.

Governor Amaechi had set up the commission on November 29 last year to look into problems of disturbances, cultism and violence in the state.

Vanguard gathered that some of the petitions came from militants and cultists. A top member of the commission who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons said the militants and cultists were pleading for amnesty to be able to appear before the commission.

This might not be possible, according to the source, because of the processes involved in granting amnesty.

Sources, however, said the commission was thinking along the line of ensuring they were granted free passage to testify before the commission. This means they would not be arrested or harassed when they appear.

“We have received 116 memoranda so far. The militants and others are responding. Their request has been that they be granted amnesty; that if they are not granted they can’t come out.

Although they have a point there but the issue of amnesty is a process. So the commission is thinking of securing for them free passage instead. By this, they will not be arrested or harassed. They must appear before the commission so that the truth can be known,” sources said.

Noting that the commission would soon commence public sitting, sources said it had served up to 60 per cent of those petitioned in various memoranda to defend themselves.

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