29 December 2008

Possible fallout from the arrest of militant

Earlier today Reuters
reported the arrest of purported MEND militant Sobomabo Jackrich a.k.a. Ebri Papa as he surfaced to attend peace talks. The militant hails from Buguma, an Ijaw community in the Asari-Torlu Local Government Area of Rivers State, and was a high-ranking fighter of Soboma George’s "Outlaws", before breaking away to form his own group. Jakrich purportedly has over 40 fighters in his cantonment and had been involved in violence, and hostage-taking in the Niger Delta region of Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

We asked MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, to explain what this meant for the future of the delicate ceasfire, in place since the end of the "six day oil war."

The spokesman responded by saying:

The arrest of Sobomabo Jackrich by the military during a peace parley where he was invited by a Royal Father [the Amayanabo of Buguma] is an example of the betrayal of trust by the Nigerian government which only confirms their insincerity as feared.

We are deliberating on the next line of action to take and will not rule out ending the ceasefire. It is unfortunate and that is why we have told all local commanders to refrain from having unilateral negotiations that do not have the involvement of the international mediators.

We requested further information about the "international mediators" and were told, "
We are talking to the Coventry Cathedral [... They] will be the main brokers but right now we are still working on the modalities and draft agreements."

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