Nigeria`s military raids militants` hideout

Nigeria`s military has carried out a raid on a militant camp in the restive oil producing Niger Delta region and have arrested two suspected rebels.

Last Updated: Nov 14, 2010, 22:57 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria`s military has carried out
a raid on a militant camp in the restive oil producing Niger
Delta region and have arrested two suspected rebels.

According to the commander of a joint military task
force in charge of the area, Maj. Gen. Charles Omoregie, the
exchange of fire lasted for some minutes and many of the
militants dispersed into the creek.

The military attacked the camp called Keiti Sese along
the creek after receiving reports that militancy was still
prevalence among the inhabitants of the area.

The ten-minute attack met stiff resistance from the
rebels and the military had to use helicopter gun ships of the
Nigerian Air Force to break it.

Omoregie also said the identity cards recovered after
the raid matched the names of some militants who claimed to
have embraced the amnesty programme of the oil rich African
country`s government.

Before the onslaught, the military had issued a
warning to civilians residing within areas where rebel camps
were located urging them to leave.

"These camps will no longer be tolerated. To avoid any
collateral damage, we are seizing this opportunity to instruct
all law-abiding citizens who live around the vicinity of these
camps to leave immediately," the military had warned.

The offensive is the first in the region since an
amnesty programmed started in August 2009.

On Thursday, militants had used explosives to attack
the homestead of, Timi Alaibe an adviser to the OPEC member
country’s President Goodluck Jonathan and this may have
warranted the decision of the military to strike.

The oil rich region of Nigeria is notorious for
unrestricted attacks by rebels who often kidnap oil workers
and at present seven foreigners from the United States,
France, Canada and Indonesia are being held hostage by a group
called Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta
(MEND).

During a presidential pardon last year, some militants
operating in the area exchanged their arms for some monetary
compensation promising to stop their activities.

Since 2006, militants in the Niger Delta region have
attacked oil installations, kidnapped oil workers and fought
government troops requesting for the control of the resources
in the area.

Their attack reduced oil production considerably
making the country which is the highest oil supplier in Africa
to trail behind Angola but Nigeria regained its place after
the amnesty programme.

PTI