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N’Delta ex-militants desperate for protection

Following the killing of an ex-militant leader, Mr. Ebi Albert, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Saturday by unknown gunmen, indications emerged on Tuesday that former Niger Delta warlords were adopting desperate measures to protect themselves from attacks.

Albert and his driver were shot dead after a daylight gun duel with his assailants in Biogbolo, a suburb of Yenagoa; a surprise attack that left a police orderly injured and rushed to the hospital.

The development, it was gathered, had jolted the ranks of ex-militant leaders as most of them were said to have reportedly rushed to police headquarters in search of bullet proof vests and licenses to carry arms and ammunition.

The desperate move for protection, it was gathered, became necessary owing to increasing assassination of ex-creek commanders in mysterious circumstances since the amnesty programme of the Federal Government started.

Our correspondent learnt that five ex-militant commanders had been murdered by faceless gunmen since the amnesty programme began despite the fact that some of them embraced the gesture.

The highest number of victims, it was gathered, has so far been recorded in Bayelsa State where three of the ex-militants were reportedly killed.

Apart from Albert, Mr. Olali Abogha, popularly called Commander Areama, was also killed in the state.

In Rivers State, a notorious ex-militant commander, Soboma George, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in August 2010.

Even Ondo state has had its own share of ex-militant killing as one Commander Ezekiel was murdered in cold blood.

The Chairman of the Group of Peacekeeping Ex-militant Leaders of Bayelsa State, General Pastor Reuben, had raised the alarm over the ongoing elimination of members of the group.

He said the incidents had forced them to restrict their movement just as he claimed that the killing might have arisen from controversies arising from alleged illegal deduction from the allowances of ex-militants by their leaders.

But the development, it was gathered, had created fear among the ex-warlords who were said to have besieged police stations to obtain licenses to enable them carry weapons of protection.

However, when contacted, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Musa Aliyu, said he was not aware of such demands, adding that the move should not be ruled out in other states in the region.

Our correspondent observed that peace was yet to return to Yenagoa since Albert was murdered as sporadic shooting had continued to unsettle residents of the city.

A special police force, codenamed Famou Tangbei, had also been raiding hotels and other public places, arresting and detaining innocent people in a bid to uncover the circumstances that led to the killing of Albert.

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