The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has condemned the arrest of five Americans and two Nigerians in Warri last Saturday, by the Joint military Task Force (JTF).
MEND contends that the Americans and their Nigerian associates are part of “a documentary film crew from the United States and its Nigerian contact.” MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, in an email dated April 14 also denied any alliance between it and Ateke Tom for the purpose of attacking Bonga deepwater oil field in the Niger Delta region.
Gbomo said the government agency was on a propaganda trip with an aim to make money for itself by protecting gas pipelines.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) denies categorically the allegation of an attack plot by one of its senior field commanders in collaboration with Ateke Tom on the EA Oil Fields supposedly “uncovered,” by the JTF.
There is no such alliance between MEND and Ateke Tom,” the militant group’s statement said. It alleged “the propaganda is a desperate ploy by the JTF in collaboration with a compromised militant group to accelerate payment to an earlier demand for the sum of N700 million from the government to protect gas pipelines.” “It is now common knowledge that the JTF is a business enterprise that will do anything to remain relevant. MEND uses this opportunity to condemn the unnecessary arrest of a documentary film crew from the United States and its Nigerian contact by the JTF,” the militant group alleged. It accused the JTF of doing “eye service,” which “does not impress anybody; instead it only confirms what we have always stressed that the people of the Niger Delta are being systematically subjected to an apartheid type policy where its people cannot move freely without molestation and humiliation by these cowards who specialize in harassing unarmed civilians.”