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Elections, Niger Delta, Nigeria

Statement from MEND

At 6 am this morning, May 1, 2007, fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, [MEND] attacked the chevron operated offshore loading terminal located on the Pennington river in Bayelsa state.

This attack is intended to serve as a disclaimer to various government sponsored newspaper stories, indicating mends approval of Goodluck [Badluck] Jonathan and Umaru Yar Adua.

Jonathan’s selection as vice president of Nigeria is of no consequence to us unless it is accompanied by a fulfilment of all conditions we have previously given to the Nigerian government and oil companies for peace to return to the Niger Delta. Today’s attack on the Chevron operated facility, is also intended to serve as a warning to shell concerning it’s return to fields we have previously attacked in Bayelsa and delta states.

In the course of the attack on this facility, the following individuals were captured off a vessel in that vicinity;
1. Raffele Pascariello-Italian
2. Alfonso Frawza- Italian
3. John Stapleton-American
4. Juricha Ruic-Croatian
5. Ignazio Gugliota-Italian
6. Mario Celetano-Italian

We promised to give the present Nigerian administration a shameful send-off. This attack is one in a series intended to embarrass the out-going regime. It is also a warning to the incoming government which we view as an extension of the present. We will continue with our struggle for justice until we achieve all our goals without exception.

The hostages will be released unconditionally on May 30, 2007. This will only be possible if the oil companies and Bayelsa state government make no attempts to secure the release of these hostages by offering ransom. Any such offers will be viewed as a slight and will compound the situation of these hostages.

We also disclaim all who have come forward recently as elders of the Niger delta promising to disarm militant groups in the delta. They are all frauds who are not capable of keeping the peace in their homes. There will be no peace in the Niger delta until we have justice.

In addition militants took the mother of disputed River’s State, Governor elect Celestine Omehia as a hostage. Rotimi Amaechi was the original candidate to stand for Governor of Rivers State and at present is awaiting a Supreme Court decision on whether or not he was/is should have been allowed to stand for election as Governor of Rivers State

The election farce has been a gift to the militants with last weeks fighting in Yenagoa, Marine Base and Okrika and now a new set of hostage taking. Whether it is MEND [and I hope it is not them] some group of miltants have hit an all time low in kidnapping the mother of Omehia from her village. Nonetheless the fact that they have kidnapped the mother of the disputed Governor elect of Bayelsa state shows that they not only have lost faith in Nigeria as a whole but in the leadership of Bayelsa and River’s State and will sink to any action no matter how low to get what they want. This is a new and ultimately dangerous change of direction by the militants especially with a future national and regional leadership elected in such corrupt and shameful circumstances. The mood in Bayelsa and Rivers State is volatile and it is not just the militants who are angry. The two states in particular have been completely disenfranchised in this election and it is no surprise that the militants have taken advantage of this fact. I am beginning to wonder whether the country is on the verge of anarchy – at least in the South.

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  1. Comment by post author

    Sokari

    Civil Society groups, trade unions and oppositions parties planned a series of demonstrations across Nigeria yesterday – it is not yet clear whether any protests managed to actually take place as mobile police (para military police) were deployed in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt.