Delta State coastal communities warn militants to steer clear

• Monarch tasks Buhari on demilitarisation
• Military launches operations in Cross River

Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai PHOTO: NAN

Chief of Army staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai PHOTO: NAN

seeks support of traditional rulers

Coastal communities in Bomadi-Patani Federal Constituency of Delta State have warned militant groups that they are unwelcomed in their area.A youth leader and Teren 1 of Niger Delta, Paul Timidi, told The Guardian yesterday in Asaba that the warning became imperative following “the unbecoming exhibition of criminal tendencies among some native youths claiming allegiance to militant groups in the region.”

He decried the continued perpetration of vices in the oil-rich region despite ongoing dialogue between its leaders and the Federal Government to end hostilities in the area.Timidi warned that “stealing, kidnapping and killing of our poor parents under any guise or platform are unacceptable.”

He added: “We don’t envy them, but seriously warn all against extending the criminality anywhere within the boundaries of our waterways. We know who is who in the ongoing criminality in the region.

“With this warning anyone involved, we will catch and hand over to the security agencies to face the full weight of the law.”Also yesterday, the paramount ruler of Siembiri Kingdom in Burutu Local Council of the state, HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to demilitarise the region.He told reporters that the deployment of “military might” was counter-productive.

He wondered why the President deployed troops instead of announcing his dialogue team, saying the action amounted to a commitment to crush the militants at a time they had accepted ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the military has launched its “Operation Crocodile Smile” in Calabar with a threat to flush out militants and criminal elements from Bakassi and Akpabuyo local councils as well as and other parts of Cross River State.Consequently, a special squad and sophisticated weapons were deployed.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai kicked-off the exercise at the Amphibious Training School of the military in the state capital.It was learnt that militants and criminals had in the past year held sway in the two councils, forcing the chairmen and workers as well as some traditional rulers to operate from Calabar.

However, the Army chief called on traditional rulers in the region to support the efforts aimed at ending criminality, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).Buratai made the appeal at the palace of the Amayanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, during a tour of operation areas of “Exercise Crocodile Smile’’ in Bayelsa State.He noted that monarchs had a great role to play in ending piracy, kidnapping, armed robbery and pipeline vandalism



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