JTF, Others On Red Alert Over MEND’s Threat

JTF, Others On Red Alert Over MEND’s Threat

There were indications on Friday that military formations in the Niger Delta have been placed on red alert over threats by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta to resume attacks on oil installations.

JTF, Others On Red Alert Over MEND’s Threat

MEND’s spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, had in an email to journalists on Wednesday said the militant group would resume a series of attacks, codenamed Hurricane Exodus at midnight on Friday.

MEND said the attacks would be “a direct repercussion of a forged threat letter contrived by the Nigerian and South African governments purporting to have originated from MEND.

“This fake letter was used as evidence against Henry Okah on whom a 13-year sentence was passed. We are now determined to conjure this imaginary trumped-up threat into a painful reality.”

But our correspondent learnt that military formations in the state especially the Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield were rattled by the threats.

Military commanders in the region including the JTF’s Sector Two commander were said to have been summoned for an emergency meeting in the formation’s headquarters in Yenagoa.

Security has also been beefed up at strategic places, including notable oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Saturday PUNCH observed that the military had begun unusual vehicular patrol In Yenagoa just as all entrances to the capital city witnessed increased presence of security operatives.

Security sources also said the Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, had ordered continuous patrol of the sea and waterways in the command’s areas of responsibility.

There were unconfirmed reports that MEND might strike in Yenago, to embarrass President Goodluck Jonathan or hit strategic oil installations.

Most people were seen in relaxation spots, news stands and other public places discussing the threats.

The threat had also jolted Ijaw leaders and elders.

Commenting on the fresh threat, the President of the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, Mr. Ozobo Austin, and the President of the National Council of Ijaw Activists, Alhaji Yusuf Eregbene, urged MEND militants to sheath their swords.

They argued that there was no need to attack oil installations in the region.

The leaders, however, noted that it was wrong for the Federal Government to have instigated the trial and conviction of Okah in South Africa.

Ozobo said South Africa was not the scene of Okah’s alleged crime, describing the action of the Nigerian government as barbaric and unconstitutional.

He argued that there was no international law backing the action of the government and insisted that Okah’s conviction was politically motivated.

“That is why MEND sees it as another act of injustice done to the people of the Niger Delta. MEND should consider the consequences, as such attacks will inflict more pain on the poor masses.

“We beg MEND to drop every threat and follow due process in communicating their demands. MEND should allow the prevailing peace to grow in the Niger Delta region.

‘’We appeal that Okah’s controversial detention should not be used as an excuse to renew hostilities and increase tension in the region.

“The Niger Delta people should endeavour to avoid any thing that will make the country ungovernable, as we are not ready to be drag to another era of bloodbath-they added.

‘’We equally use this opportunity to appeal with the Federal Government to wade into the matter, to ensure a soft landing for Henry Okah.”

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