FILE: Niger Delta militants pictured sometime during the campaign of early 2000 to 2009 when the hostilities ended with the acceptance of a Presidential Amnesty Programme by late President Musa Yar'Adua
A new new militant group operating in Imo State, the Niger Delta Red Squad, has sent a stern warning to the state government and law enforcement agencies on the purported expiration of the group’s ceasefire.
“Our two weeks ceasefire is almost coming to an end, then will start full operations. Imo State and Nigeria will be shocked at what we are going to do in our forthcoming attacks,” a statement on the Red Squad’s Facebook page said.
The group, which claims that it is mounting attacks on oil installations in Imo State to protest exploitation and marginalisation of oil producing communities in the state says that it is upset by comments credited to Kay Ishiaku, a brigadier general with the Nigerian Army who is the commander of 34th Artillery Brigade based in Obinze in Imo State.
“Since the Brigade Commander of 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, thinks he can talk to media, let him wait for us at Owerri, we will teach Imo State lessons they will never forget as soon as our two weeks cease-fire elapses,” the group said in another Facebook post.
“Rochas Okorocha and Army General Ishyaku should get ready. We are coming.”
The Niger Delta Red Squad seized headlines in June, 2016 when the group emerged claiming responsibility for attacks on Shell pipelines in Imo State. The group, in a statement, berated the oil companies operating in the state and declared that the oil giants had failed in their corporate social responsibility to host communities.
“Oil companies started operations in our community since 1957 but till date, we have nothing to show as benefit and for the Imo State government, we will make sure you make no further gains from Ohaji Egbema,” the group is quoted as saying.
“Since the creation of Imo State in 1976, neither Imo State Government nor oil companies have remembered us, we have been neglected and abandoned. No electricity, no tarred roads, no drinking water, no hospital, no youth employment or empowerment.
“We shall destroy everything in Imo State that was built with our oil money,” the Red Squad said.
The twin attacks were later confirmed by Shell.
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