A Niger Delta militant group, Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, has surrendered part of its arms to show its desire to lay down their arms, if the Federal Government addressed their concerns. Lt.-Col. Olaolu Daudu, the spokesman of Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Yenagoa. Daudu said the terms of the surrender were being worked out by Cross River Command of Department of State Services and Cross River government. He said that the militant group had turned in one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and an AK 47 rifle as a show of good faith towards the peace deal.
“Available information from Sector 4 in Cross River State indicates that Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) militants led by one Mr Benjamin Ene have expressed unreserved willingness to lay down their arms. “They have contacted the Department of State Services in Cross River State through the state government’s appointed rappoteur on amnesty to signify their readiness to hold talks on amnesty with the relevant authorities. “To buttress this demonstration of goodwill, BSF turned in one General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and an AK 47 rifle. “The Department of State Service representatives and representatives of the rappoteur have since recovered the arms as talks are ongoing on modalities to surrender their remaining arms,” Daudu said.
It will be recalled that the leader of the group, Mr Benjamin Ene, aka ‘Humble Lion G1’ had on Nov. 1 expressed the desire to surrender in a telephone interview with NAN in Yenagoa. Ene said that the group was not out to vandalise national assets but for the well-being of his people who resided in Bakassi, now ceded to Cameroon. The leader, who spoke from his camp in the creeks of southern Cross River, said that unlike other militant groups, it had no record of oil installation destruction or molestation of the citizens. Daudu said that the Acting Commander the Joint Military Force deployed to the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, Brig.-Gen Kevin Aligbe had applauded the move by the militant group to surrender and embrace peace.
Aligbe maintained that the military has zero tolerance for militancy and related crimes in the Joint Operations Area and urged other aggrieved groups to emulate the BSF by laying down their arms. According Daudu, the Commander advised the other Niger Delta militants groups to embrace the reconciliatory channels open at both state and federal levels. The spokesman also said that troops of Sector 3, following a tip off, on Wednesday swiftly reacted and swooped on suspected sea robbers around Kumfari Community near Idama in Rivers State. During the encounter one suspected sea robber was killed, two were wounded and seven others apprehended while one locally made pistol and machete were recovered. He said that the suspects were undergoing further investigation.