Soldiers, Militants in Gun Duel Over Abducted Royal Father
22 Aug 2006
Author: Emma Amaize
MILITANTS in Ekeremor local government area of Bayelsa State have kidnapped a traditional chief in the area for supposedly helping himself to the ransom he collected on their behalf for the release of a kidnapped oil worker who is still in their custody.
The Joint Task Force (JTF), otherwise known as "Operation Restore Hope" in the Niger-Delta, however, launched an attack on the militants on Sunday night in a bid to rescue the chief.
It was gathered that there was sporadic shooting between the soldiers and the militants between Sunday night and the early hours of yesterday but the details of the shoot-out were still imprecise, last night.
But a security source told Vanguard that soldiers stormed the creeks "over a traditional chief that is being held for monetary reasons". He did not elaborate.
Commander of the Joint Task Force, Brigadier General Alfred Ilogho was to be holding a meeting with some senior officers when this reporter called him for comments. His aide who picked the call said on three occasions that "Oga is very busy, he is holding a meeting, please call back later". A reliable source said the militants turned against their traditional chief when they got to know that he allegedly collected a lot of money to secure the release of the oil worker but kept much of the loot to himself while preaching to them on the impropriety of their action.
"The traditional chief of the area was contacted to help in the release of the oil worker who was kidnapped by some militants. He apparently promised that he would secure the release of the worker and was reportedly given some good amount of money by the employers of the worker to do the job.