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Fears Heighten In Niger Delta As Ex-militants, Regroup, Reactivate Camps

■ 3 militants killed during gun battle with soldiers
■ APC moves to control Bayelsa
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The fear of resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region has set off alarm bells in military circles.
The fears may not been unconnected to grumblings among ex-militants in the Niger Delta region and the recent discovery of a militant camp by Operation Pulo Shield (OPS) formerly Joint Task Force (JTF) in Delta State, which led to a-30 minute gun duel between soldiers and militants camp at Benigboye in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
Checks indicated that some boys, who had passed through the amnesty, have regrouped and are setting up camps in the creeks.
Military sources said the raid on hideout of militants on September 5 and 6 in Delta State has confirmed that there is threat of resurgence of militancy if it is not nipped in the bud.
The new Commander of OPS, Major General Alani Okunola confirmed at a press briefing that soldiers were involved in a gun battle with militants and that arms and ammunition were recovered.
He further disclosed that a follow-up raid in Odimodi community also in Delta State led to the arrest of one Mr. Ebiwame Lamia who had escaped arrest from the September 5 raid.
According to him, sophisticated weapons recovered include, Medium Machine Gun, AK 47 light machine gun and AK 47 automatic rifle.
“Other weapons recovered from the suspected militants are one Fabrique Nationale, SMI and G3 rifled.
“The troops also recovered one single barrelled gun, 7.62mm Nato special ammunition, 11 quantity of improvised explosive devices, identity cards belonging to Oroso Kpasco, Iyadoufega Nuwent, Clifford Ebikabowei and Emmanuel Stanley.
Also recovered was an Automated Teller Machine card belonging to Mr. Ingo Kpasco, a suspected hoodlum at Odimodi community recently.”
Okunola said during interrogation, Lamia confessed that three militants died during the raid on the camp at Benigboye, while their leader, Mr. Ayas Abdulrahman Ingo escaped with gunshot wounds.
He warned criminals in the region to desist from all acts of illegalities, vowing that the OPS would continue to match word with action in the fight against criminalities in line with the zero-tolerance campaign.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is making moves to ensure the party wins the December 5 governorship election to ensure Bayelsa State is not used as a launching pad against the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
Investigations revealed the interest former President Goodluck Jonathan has shown in the governorship election by backing the re-election bid of incumbent Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and the campaign against APC by branding the PDP as an Ijaw party, has informed the new position of the leadership of the party.
Sources said the national leadership has zeroed in on former Governor Timipre Sylva and former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Ndutimi Alaibe for either of them to take the APC governorship ticket.
Both aspirants are believed to be strong forces in the Niger Delta and would be able to keep the ex-militants under control and would prevent a resurgence of militancy in the region through promptings from disgruntled politicians.