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Militants Hijack Ship, Demand Nnamdi Kanu's Release - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Militants Hijack Ship, Demand Nnamdi Kanu's Release by centmichael101(m): 11:16am On Feb 03, 2016

Brig-General Rabe Abubakar

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja with agency report

Nigerian separatists linked to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and militants in the Niger Delta have hijacked a merchant ship – MT LEON DIAS – and threatened to blow it up with its foreign crew if authorities do not release their detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who has been agitating for a breakaway state of Biafra, military officers said on Tuesday.

Brig-General Rabe Abubakar, the Defence Ministry spokesman, confirmed the hijacking occurred on Friday and called it “an act of sabotage”. He did not tell reporters the name of the ship, reported the Associated Press (AP).

Other officers told AP yesterday that the navy was in pursuit of the captured vessel. The officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the issue is sensitive, said the hijackers had given the government 31 days to free Kanu or they would blow up the ship along with its crew.

The ultimatum was given at the weekend by a militant identified by the nom de guerre of General Ben. Ben is not a separatist but “some Niger Delta militants have shown interest in working with us”, said Uchena Madu, a leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of a Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

However, the military later yesterday clarified that the ship hijacked by the militants sympathetic to the embattled leader of IPOB, was berthed off Republic of Benin territorial waters.
The clarification was made by General Abubakar, who said that the navy of the Republic of Benin was monitoring the ship.
Abubakar also cautioned the media to take into account the national interest when reporting the hijacking of the ship.
He said: “Issues of national interest have to be reported with caution. The ship in question is called MT LEON DIAS (9279927), a tanker.
“The ship is presently in Benin waters, about 7.5 nautical miles off Cotonou Port under the watch of the Benin Republic navy.”
The defence spokesman also dismissed reports that the ship was hijacked by militants, saying there is no militant in the country, because the Amnesty Programme had wiped out militancy in the Niger Delta.

According to him, “What exists now are criminal elements masquerading as militants.”
“There is no militant, because the Amnesty Programme has taken care of our brothers. Therefore anybody who engages or is engaging in sabotage is engaging in an act of criminality and the law of the land will take its course,” he added.

The hijacking indicates the separatists could be working with some Niger Delta oil militants blamed for recent bombings of oil pipelines in the oil-rich south, escalating conflict in a country already burdened by Boko Haram’s deadly Islamic uprising in the North-east and violent ethno-religious confrontations between farmers and herders in central Nigeria.

Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer also is battered by slashed petroleum prices.
The Department of State Services (DSS) on October 17 detained Kanu, director of banned Radio Biafra, and has since accused him of terrorism, sparking protests in which police were accused of killing several demonstrators. Following a court order, Kanu was transferred to Kuje Prisons last month.

Nigeria’s Igbo people prosecuted a civil war to create a separate state of Biafra in the South-east that killed an estimated two million people in between 1967 and 1970. Many Igbos charge they still suffer discrimination
Re: Militants Hijack Ship, Demand Nnamdi Kanu's Release by DesChyko: 11:38am On Feb 03, 2016
Unrest everywhere.. Perhaps this is karma. God see us through it all.
Re: Militants Hijack Ship, Demand Nnamdi Kanu's Release by JustOzito(f): 11:47am On Feb 03, 2016
the federal government should release this guy nah and save Nigerians the stress of praying
Re: Militants Hijack Ship, Demand Nnamdi Kanu's Release by nobilis: 11:59am On Feb 03, 2016
Where has a government ever been arm-twisted into doing something.
They are just making matters worse for Nnamdi Kanu.
And they are actually going against the peaceful realisation of Biafra encouraged by the EU representatives.

They are indirectly shooting themselves in the foot.

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