News / Africa

Niger Delta Militants Deny Involvement in Nigeria Bombing

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Nigerian independence, in Abuja, Nigeria, 1 Oct 2010
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan waves to the crowd during the 50th anniversary celebrations of Nigerian independence, in Abuja, Nigeria, 1 Oct 2010

Niger Delta militants say they are not behind Nigeria's independence day bombing that killed 12 people.  President Goodluck Jonathan says the attack was carried out by a small group of terrorists from outside Nigeria.

A statement attributed to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta claimed responsibility for last Friday's bombings, saying Nigeria has nothing to celebrate after 50 years of failure, including the neglect of the people and environment of the oil-rich Delta.

But the leader of the group known as MEND, Tompolo, says Niger Delta militants had nothing to do with the attack and remain committed to an amnesty program introduced last year by the late president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

"We are not part of the incident on the First of October," said Tompolo.  "I want everybody in this country to go after anybody who is part of this havoc.  MEND is not involved.  I am the owner of MEND.  I recruited everybody.  And by the grace of God, we are here to support the late president.  And that is the same support we are now transferring to you as our brother.  We are going to work with you to save this country for everybody."

President Goodluck Jonathan is from the Niger Delta and says he is certain the group was not involved.

"When this thing happened, the name of MEND was mentioned.  I am from there, and I know the actors in MEND and the leaders of MEND and you are all here.  I am happy that you are here to tell Nigerians and to tell the rest of society that it is not MEND who did it," said Jonathan.

President Jonathan says the attack was carried out by a small terrorist group from outside Nigeria that is using the problems of the Delta to camouflage their criminality.  He says those terrorists are being sponsored by what he calls "unpatriotic elements within the country."

State security services say their primary suspect is former MEND leader Henry Okah, who is under arrest in South Africa.  But the investigation has taken on a political element with the questioning of former military leader Ibrahim Babangida's presidential campaign director.

The retired general is running against President Jonathan in next year's election.  State-run television says Babangida campaign director Raymond Dokpesi was questioned about text messages found on the phone of one of the suspects, which referred to a monetary payment.

President Jonathan is the first Nigerian leader who is from the Niger Delta, so his ability to control the violence there is a big issue in this campaign.  The meeting with MEND leaders was meant to further reassure Nigerians the bombing is unrelated to Delta problems.

MEND commander Asari Dokubo says such violence should not be associated with the people of the Niger Delta.

Dokubo says those who have given their lives in the struggle for the rights of the Niger Delta, including the executed author Ken Saro-Wiwa, would be turning in their graves at the attempt of those responsible for the bombing to claim to represent the interests of the Delta.

"We call on you, government, to investigate properly and give them the appropriate punishment," said Dokubo.  "Let there be no leniency in punishing those who are responsible for taking the lives of these innocent people. It is condemnable. I am a Muslim. We have the rule of engagement in our struggle that we do not kill innocent people."

Thousands of MEND fighters took part in last year's amnesty that promised monthly stipends and job training along with greater development in the Delta.  There have been problems delivering on those promises, and President Jonathan says he understands those frustrations.

"We will not disappoint you," added Dokubo.  "We will even work harder to see that the amnesty succeeds.  We will work with you and the leaders of the Niger Delta and the men and women from the Niger Delta to see that we bring development to that area."

Nine suspects are under arrest in Nigeria. State security services say they will not disclose their identities because the investigation continues.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces a Chaotic World and the Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid