DR Congo Transfers Jailed Ex-Militants After Daring Prison Breaks

 

Forty-five prisoners, all former militia fighters, have been transferred from a prison in southern DR Congo after a series of spectacular jailbreaks, officials said on Saturday.

The transfers of 28 convicted inmates and 17 awaiting trial came days after the escape of suspects in the murder of two UN experts.

The prisoners are all members of the Kamwina Nsapu militia, which clashed with government forces between September 2016 and October 2017. The fighting cost 3,000 lives, according to UN estimates.

The inmates were transferred on Friday from Kananga in Kasai-Central province near the border with the Angola, Edouard Ntumba Buabua, the mayor of Kananga.

The 17 prisoners still to be tried were flown to Ndolo, the main prison in the capital Kinshasa, said Vincent Kayembe, a local justice ministry official.

Twenty-eight convicted prisoners were taken to the top-security prison at Angenga, in the northwest province of Equateur, a local journalist told AFP.

The transfer came after a series of daring escapes from Kananga prison last week.

On Thursday, military prosecutors said four suspects in the March 2017 killing of two UN experts were among those who had managed to flee.

Zaida Catalan, a 36-year-old Swedish-Chilean national, and American Michael Sharp, 34 were killed in Kasai in 2017 while investigating mass graves in the region.

AFP

Ex-Militants Protest, Demand Removal Of Amnesty Programme Coordinator

 

Ex-militants in Bayelsa State have taken to the streets to protest thereby calling for the removal of Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Charles Dokubo.

The protesting militants on Monday morning blocked the Mbiama axis of the East/West road, causing a gridlock that lasted for about two hours.

According to them, creating the blockade is to send a message to the Federal Government that they are not ready to accept ‘no’ for an answer.

They are also complained about the non-payment of their monthly stipend by the Federal Government, thereby issuing a 7-day ultimatum.

The protesters say they won’t remove it until they receive a phone call from the amnesty office agreeing to pay them their outstanding allowance owed them.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Charles Dokubo on March 13, 2018, to replace the former coordinator, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh (Retd).

The President directed the National Security Adviser (NSA) to carry out a full investigation into the activities of the Amnesty Programme from 2015 to date, especially allegations of financial impropriety and other acts that are allegedly detrimental to the objectives of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Ex-Militants In Delta Protest, Threaten To Resume Hostilities

Ex-militants from over hundred communities on Tuesday laid siege at the Edjeba-Warri office of the Heritage Operational Energy Services Limited, threatening to resume hostilities if their demands are not met.

The militants, during the protest, defied the heavy presence of security operatives, blocking entry and exit routes, preventing movement in and out of the premises.

Carrying placards with various inscriptions, they chanted songs of solidarity and prevented vehicular movement.

Chairman of the third phase of the Presidential Amnesty Program, Kingsley Odiri Agas, who spoke on behalf of the protesters claimed that inhuman activities were meted out to the youths by the operators.

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He claimed that certain commitments remained unfulfilled to them. They claimed that there was an attempt to use of a non-governmental organisation with an agenda to take over their surveillance jobs.

“We the youths of oml 30, in collaboration with ex-militants phases one to three, have gathered here to protest what we feel will cause trouble in our region here. We have been enjoying relative peace in oml 30.

“This peaceful coexistence has been for some time now. We have not had any problem, there has been peace. If you look well you will see that there has not been any issue of vandalism, but recently there has been this uproar in oml 30 that there’s an NGO that came in that want to take over the leadership of security others from our people.

“According to them they came to ask us to down our tools and work with them so that things will improve, but we said no, that we are already at peace among ourselves, we are satisfied with the peace we are having now. They have gone into my community, met with the ex-militants that are there and tried to incite them so that they will attack us,” he said.

Kingsley Odiri added that the ex-militant leaders have resolved not to allow confusion in the community, hence the reason for the peaceful protest.

“We are capable of protecting our assets that government has put in our area. We don’t want foreigners, we don’t want peaceworks in oml 30. If they refuse to heed to our request, we will destroy those facilities,” he added.

An official of Heritage operational energy services limited spoke with the protesters and promised that their concerns will be looked into.

 

Ex-Militants Offer To Help Military Uncover Oil Pipeline Bombers

Militants Offer Partnership With Military To Uncover Oil Pipeline BombersLeaders of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Edo state say they are willing to work with the military to fish out those who are involved in the bombing of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.

Mr Reuben Wilson spoke on behalf of the ex-militants under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative during a press briefing in Benin City the Edo state capital.

He said that the approval of the 2017 budget for the amnesty programme by President Muhammadu Buhari was a sign of his commitment to restore total peace to the Niger Delta region.

“We were there before embracing amnesty and we know every in and out of that area. That is why I said it here that we will work hand to hand with the security agencies.

“That place is not strange for us, it is (a place) where we have operated in those days before accepting amnesty.

“So we will go down and work hand in hand with security agencies if we are accepted. That is one thing. If the security agencies want us to work hand in hand with them, we will work and we know total peace will come back,” he said.

The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh said the ex-militants have embraced the agriculture programme of the Federal Government.

He said: “Like the Peremabiri Rice Farm, am making arrangement with the Minister of Water Resources. That farm is not under the Ministry of Agriculture, it is under the Ministry of Water Resources.

“I met with the Minister and he is very happy and we are planning to go together even though I have the knowledge of the place so that we can use it as part of the training ground to train the ex-agitators so that they can have first-hand information about how rice is being farmed.”

Ex-Niger Delta Militants Vow To Expose Pipeline Vandals

amnesty1Ex-militants in the Niger Delta region, have resolved to protect the sovereignty of the country and expose anyone found vandalising oil and gas installations within their communities, citing its negative effect on the environment and the mindset of investors.

They made the pledge at an emergency meeting organised by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (RTD).

The meeting was held with the leaders of the Ex-Agitators, captured under the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), in Benin City the capital of Edo State.

Its central focus was to foster peace and stability in the Niger Delta region, and the meeting was well attended by State Coordinators and members from all the nine Niger Delta States.

The meeting can be tagged a huge success, as all the leaders present, equally pledged their support for the current administration’s, Agricultural Empowerment Programmes for beneficiaries.

The Amnesty Programme has in recent times, focused on training and empowering beneficiaries in Agricultural activities.

Just recently, about 200 ex-agitators were successfully trained and empowered on enhanced agriculture at the National Biotechnology Development Center, in Odi, Baylesa State, while some others have been empowered with starter packs, to start their own farms.

One of the Leaders, Pastor Ruben Wilson, thanked General Boroh for his unbiased coordination of the Amnesty Programme, stating that under Boroh’s watch, the Amnesty Programme had transformed from a political tool, to a well-coordinated reintegration platform for the repentant Agitators of the Niger Delta Region.

In his response, General Boroh lauded the ex-agitators for their patience and perseverance, while also promising them of the Federal Government’s commitment to improving their lives, as well as other youths in the region.

Ex-Militants Receive Two Months Stipends

Ex-Militants Receive Two Months Stipends Ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme now have a reason to smile as they have been paid their stipends for the months of August and September, 2016.

The ex-militants who have been threatening to return to the creeks if their stipends were not paid, have been advised to be patient as the remaining three months stipends would also be paid.

A leader of Phase 3 of the Amnesty Programme, Mr Ramsey Mukoro, who spoke with Channels Television correspondent, confirmed that they have received two months payment out of their arrears.

He said: “The Amnesty Office has started paying but my third phase people have yet to get alerts. We are hoping that we in the third phase will benefit soon as well.

“It has really been difficult for us. We spent Christmas and New Year on empty stomach. The government should try to make the payment go round quick.”

Also, the Liaison Officer, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Bayelsa State Office, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo, confirmed that the Amnesty Office began the payment after the New Year holidays.

In a statement, Kiyaramo said, “The Amnesty Office commenced payment of the outstanding stipends this week after the New Year, precisely on Wednesday.

“The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd.), is concerned about the welfare of beneficiaries in the programme.

“He would stop at nothing until a sustainable re-integration of the ex-agitators into the society with sustainable source of livelihood.”

The commencement of payment of allowances came a few days after chairmen of Phase 1 and 2 of Bayelsa State Amnesty Programme, Mr Excel Divine, and Salvation Ibina-Rufus, respectively, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.

They had opined that the President’s quick intervention would douse the tension already mounting in the region over the unpaid arrears.

Ex-Militants Set To Be Trained In Advanced Farming Methods

Ex-Militants Set To Be Trained In Advanced Farming MethodsA total of 500 ex-militants in Bayelsa State have just benefited from the Presidential Amnesty programme.

The ex-militants have been sent to the National Bio-resources Centre, Odi, to train in advanced farming methods.

The beneficiaries will be trained in the application of verified scientific technologies to increase yields in crop and animal farming.

Speaking at the launch of the training, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd), described investments in agriculture as key and imperative to the country’s national and economic growth.

He said: “Today’s economy remind us of what we have taken for granted and how with dedication and focus, we can turn the tide, using agriculture as the harbinger for economic greatness.

“It is not enough to clamour for diversification of the economy, we must walk the talk by raising a generation, which sees agriculture as a viable business platform and is willing to push the frontiers”.

Boroh said the programme would engender an atmosphere in the Niger Delta where youths can embrace commercial agriculture to reduce unemployment, thereby increasing food security and production.

He added: “The rich bio-diversity of the Niger Delta provides opportunities to explore the agricultural value chain production. We must take steps to become a giant in agro-allied businesses.’’

The Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu hailed the Amnesty Office for taking the initiative to send the ex-militants to the centre for the advanced agricultural training.

“We are a centre dedicated to excellence with the required manpower to train entrepreneurs in agriculture by utilising the knowledge in contemporary farming methodology to give an edge to today’s farmer,” she said.

Ogbadu said that the youth should use the knowledge and skills they would acquire to improve their lives and impact on the society.

The youths will be trained in advanced methods in mushroom cultivation, fisheries, snail and grass cutter farming.

Other areas include poultry technology and crop farming.

Agricultural empowerment tools will be given to beneficiaries at the end of training.

200 Ex-Militants Graduate In Automobile Manufacturing, Plastic Design Training

Niger-Delta-militantsAbout 200 trainees from the 2nd batch of militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme have graduated in various fields of training.

The training include automobile manufacturing, plastic designs and production.

About 200 graduated from automobile manufacturing, while 80 others went into plastic designs and production.

The Presidential Amnesty Coordinator, Brig. Gen. Paul Boro (Rtd) addressed them as professionals and emphasised that the training does not end on their graduation day but will continue as they keep adding value to their lives and to the country.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment towards sustaining the program adding that it has yielded huge results.

Anambra State Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Professor Kate Omenugha, added that talents abound in Niger Delta youths and harnessing them will be best for the country.

The training led to a breakthrough as the automobile trainees successfully manufactured a 21-seater luxury bus.

Brig. Gen. Boro said it is “a world record achievement in mechanical engineering” and urged them “to utilise every skill acquired in the academy to develop themselves, the Niger Delta and the nation at large”.

The graduating trainees expressed their readiness to commence contributing their quota in the national economic grid but urged the federal government to accelerate their empowerment process.

 

Gunmen Kill Banker In Rivers State Ahoada Town

Gunmen kill banker in Rivers State AhodaA Yenagoa-based senior banker, Adewale Adesanya, has been killed by armed men in Ahoada area of Rivers State in southern Nigeria.

The 39-year-old man was driving to Port Harcourt on August 13 in company of two others when he was shot several times at about 3:00pm before he rammed into the bush just by an NNPC filling station after Okobe.

The assassins followed the vehicle into the bush with further gun shots to ensure he never survived.

The names of two other occupants were given as Haruna and Samson, all of whom are well known by family and friends of the deceased.

‘Finish Him Up’

The two young men escaped into the bush when they noticed that the gun men were coming towards the car as the late banker tried to crawl out.

According to a statement obtained from Samson, who later resurfaced in Yenagoa, one of the gun men repeatedly told a member of the gang to ‘finish him up’ and ‘offload him’.

A team of policemen from the Ahoada-East Area Command later arrived the scene of the incident to remove the corpse and the car.

Investigation is on to ascertain if it was a case of assassination.

No item was removed from the car apart from the mobile phone of the deceased.

Family source indicated that the late Adewale Adesanya, a banker of almost 10 years was the account officer to many of the ex-militants on the payroll of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.

It was alleged that he had been having running battle over certain deductions from the amnesty allowance in line with the payment standing order.

Nigerian Military Steps Up Security Operation In Niger Delta

Niger Delta, Military, OlonisakinService Chiefs led by the Chief of Defence Staff have converged on Ojoloma Jetty in Okrika under 82 Division of the Nigerian Army to step up security operations in the Niger Delta.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, said that the commissioning of refurbished gunboats is part of collaborative efforts to provide the needed equipment to combat the security challenges in the oil rich region.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin said that these gunboats refurbished by 2 Brigade Nigerian Army would improve the capacity to curtail security threats in Nigeria’s inland waterways.

Attacks on facilities in the last few weeks have driven Nigeria’s oil output to a more than 20-year low.

A crude oil pipeline in Bayelsa State, southern Nigeria, operated by the local subsidiary of Italy’s Eni, Nigerian Agip Oil, was attacked by suspected militants at the weekend.

This was barely two weeks after militants attacked a Chevron platform also in the Niger Delta region.

A group known as the Niger Delta Avengers claimed responsibility for the attack.

The same group said it carried out an attack on a Shell Oil pipeline in February which shut down the 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal.

The group has been in the news lately for being behind the attacks on oil and gas facilities in the region.

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured oil companies operating in the Niger Delta that the government was taking all necessary actions to protect strategic assets in the region from vandals and criminals.

Poor Reintegration Of Niger Delta Militants Posing Threat To Nigeria’s Economy

Niger DeltaThe poor coordination of the reintegration phase of the Amnesty Programme of the Nigerian government for ex-militants in the Niger Delta region is something the government must address, a counter terrorism expert, retired Major General Cecil Esekhaigbe, said on Sunday.

A group that calls themselves the Niger Delta Avengers is attacking oil and gas facilities in the region, gradually dipping the nation’s oil production which had hit 2.4 million barrels per day in the post-amnesty era.

Nigeria’s revenue depends largely on sales of crude oil and a drop in production at a time of volatile oil price is a huge threat to the nation’s economy.

The latest attack, which no group has claimed responsibility for, occurred on Saturday in Bayelsa State, just a few days after President Muhammadu Buhari assured oil companies in the region of safety of their installations.

Giving his opinion about the Niger Delta Avengers activities, stressed that the Amnesty Programme predicated a DDR initiative – Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration – had a disconnection which needed to be addressed.

Cecil-Esekhaigbe-Major-General
Retired Major General Cecil Esekhaigbe believes that proper reintegration of militants will address militancy in Niger Delta

“While the two Ds have fed well, the reintegration phase has not really been coordinated.

“Most of the ex-militants that were trained have not really been re-integrated into the system.

“A lot of them have been trained but they do not have jobs. The government must begin to think of giving them jobs.

“If you do not address the situation, there is room for dissidence and some of these actions that are taking place,” he warned.

The retired military officer emphasised that the the Amnesty Programme put in place by the late Yar’Adua administration to a large extent achieved its purpose.

“Pre-Amnesty Programme, we were talking about 700 barrels of crude oil per day and in post-amnesty, it rose to 2.4 million barrels per day.”

Mr Esekhaigbe, however, pointed out that there was a very good platform for the agitators to express their grievances.

“Those grievances have nothing to write home about because they lack foundation and sense of understanding,” he said.

The counter terrorism expert further urged political leaders in Bayelsa to collaborate with the government and identify those that have not been properly reintegrated in the Amnesty Programme and advice the government.

Earlier on Saturday, an ex-militant, Asari Dokubo, who said he had no link with the Niger Delta Avengers, stressed that the region was still marginalised.

Ex-Militants Mount Road Blocks In Warri Over Amnesty Programme

Amnesty ProgrammeA group of Niger Delta ex-militants, who are beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme at the Bradama Training Center, are protesting over unpaid training allowances and non issuance of certificates at the completion of their training.

The group, armed with placards and banners, say the Federal Government Amnesty Office has breached the terms of contract it had with them.

They have stopped the free flow of traffic at the DSC Roundabout in Warri, Delta State.

They have also given the government one week to meet their demands and failure to do so would result in the total shutdown of oil operations in the Niger Delta region.

About 300 delegates of the Amnesty Programme were posted to two training centres on August 28, 2013 to learn Pipeline Welding and Fabrication.

Bradama, located in Agadagba-Obon in Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, has trained skilled welders under the Federal Government-sponsored training programmes for ex-militants as part of the Amnesty Programme.