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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.