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Tension In Bayelsa Over Bomb Attack On Home Of Ex-Militant Leader

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Nigerian militant commander Ateke Tom addresses the media as arms surrendered by former Nigerian militants are displayed at an arms collection centre at the tourist beach in the oil hub Port Harcourt October 3, 2009. Hundreds of Nigerian rebel fighters gave up their weapons and accepted an amnesty deal on Saturday in the most concerted effort yet to end years of fighting in the oil-producing Niger Delta. Militant commanders Tom and Farah Dagogo, both responsible for years of attacks on the oil industry in the eastern Niger Delta, led gunmen from camps in the mangrove creeks to the oil hub of Port Harcourt to disarm. Picture taken October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Austin Ekeinde (NIGERIA CONFLICT IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Nigerian militant commander Ateke Tom addresses the media as arms surrendered by former Nigerian militants are displayed at an arms collection centre at the tourist beach in the oil hub Port Harcourt October 3, 2009. Hundreds of Nigerian rebel fighters gave up their weapons and accepted an amnesty deal on Saturday in the most concerted effort yet to end years of fighting in the oil-producing Niger Delta. Militant commanders Tom and Farah Dagogo, both responsible for years of attacks on the oil industry in the eastern Niger Delta, led gunmen from camps in the mangrove creeks to the oil hub of Port Harcourt to disarm. Picture taken October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Austin Ekeinde (NIGERIA CONFLICT IMAGES OF THE DAY)

……..As Dickson vows to deal with ex-militants

Christopher Uche, Yenagoa

There is palpable tension in Bayelsa following the bombing of the home of a former militant leader in the state, Mr. Paul Eris, popularly known as Ogunboss.

This attack is coming barely one week after the ex-militant leader participated in a violent protest in the state capital over an NNPC surveillance contract which they accused Governor Seriake Dickson of hijacking.

It was gathered that the attack was masterminded by four unidentified men, with an Improvised Explosive Device known as Dynamite.

The attack, which triggered a loud explosion at the Etegwe area residence of the ex-militant leader, occurred at about 11pm on Thursday.

The Improvised explosive device, according to the aides of the Ex-militant leader, was thrown into the premises from the right side of the building, while General Ogunboss was having relaxed session with fellow ex-militants in front of the house.

A visit to the attacked home of the ex-militant leader showed a damage swimming pool area with shattered lamps and tiles.

The men of the Nigerian Air Force, residing at the next building to the ex-militant leader, have restricted vehicular movement in the area due to the attack.

It was further gathered that the explosion, which caught the ex-militant leader and his followers unaware, made the ex-militants to pursue the attackers,  “but the minutes gained by the surprise attack and the attackers’ use of commercial tricycle, made their arrest impossible. But we gave them a hot chase.”

The Ex-militant leader, General Ogunboss, while confirming the incident, said the dynamite attack on his home was part of a suspected series of attacks on him and his followers in the last few days due to his position against the alleged state government hijack of the Oil Pipeline surveillance job in the state.

According to Ogunboss, ”Two days ago, one of my followers escaped assassination. Some strange faces were in his home yesterday night. They were masked and armed with AK47 rifles. They rough handled the wife and the husband escaped. I asked him to go and report at Akenfa Police Station. While we are waiting, this explosion occurred.”

But when contacted, the spokesman to the Bayelsa Police command,  Butswat Asimi,said the distress call the Police received from the residence of the ex-militant leader at about10.20pm was that of a fire incident, “we got a distress call at about 10.20pm on a fire outbreak at Ogunboss residence and the Door Akpoor and the fire service were mobilised to the scene.The fire was put off.”

Meanwhile, the  Bayelsa state governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson yesterday in Yenagoa had an interactive session with Oil and Gas host and transit communities threatening to deal with any person or group of persons under the guise of ex-militants or whatever names in accordance with the law trying to form a parallel government under his leadership.

Speaking at the occasion, the governor said his administration will never cow down to threats and intimidations on NNPC pipeline surveillance contract.

He added that he has the goodwill to give the ex-militants 50% of the contract but insisted that they must ensure the delivery of their required obligation.

According to him, our intention in forming the Izon Ibe Security outfit which will soon be launched is in the goodwill of the entire citizenry of the state. Its overall aim is to provide massive employment for the youth.

He stated that Izon Ibe Security shall be home based in areas where there are oil pipelines in order to create room for proper identification and give adequate accountability where there are lapses.

In his words, ‘last year, we set up Izon Ibe Security as our own security that will be community based and the difference is that it’s government owned. We have training programmes and also intend for traditional rulers to make input, so that there will be identification to know those involved and their respective communities.

‘Our ex-militants are trying to create chaos and those days when they were forming parallel government is no more because we shall follow them by the law and we shall not be intimidated.

The governor pointed out that Bayelsa as the hub of the Niger Delta once inflamed in violence will affect the entire region and by implication the Country as a whole.

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