Penitent Nigerian militants submit over 14,000 arms to JTF in Delta

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The JTF said it was carrying out a directive by the Nigerian President.

Ex-militants and other residual groups in Delta returned 14,586 weapons and ammunition, the Inter-Agency Task Force, IATF, on Amnesty programme said in Warri, Delta, on Thursday.

The Chief Coordinator of the IATF, James Gbum, said this during the display of the weapons surrendered to the Joint Task Force, JTF, and other security agencies in Delta.

Mr. Gbum said the Federal Government set up IATF because of complaints from some ex-militants over alleged marginalisation in the amnesty programme.

“It is in response to these agitations and claims that the President constituted IATF to carry out the verification and reconciliation of disarmament records as well as document the residual ex-militants, who actually surrendered weapons to the JTF and other security agencies.

“This is aimed at enhancing the security of lives and property in the region,” he said.

Mr. Gbum clarified that the display of weapons and ammunition was not a fresh amnesty programme as some believed but a mop up exercise.

“The mandate of the task force in Delta is simply to reconcile the disarmament records and document formerly armed youths in the state.

“This is a mop up exercise of weapons and ammunition that were surrendered to the JTF and other security Agencies up till March 2009.”

Mr. Gbum explained that IATF had concluded its work and “those who are qualified to be included in the Amnesty programme have been duly documented.

He said some youth are parading themselves about and making a lot of noise as ex-militants.

“However, during the course of reconciling the disarmament records, the task force discovered that they surrendered primitive and archaic weapons, such as Dane guns, cutlasses and catapults, to security agencies.

“This category of persons does not qualify for the programme. And some of them who were crafty enough to present fake documents to the task force were promptly detected and screened out,” he said.

Among the weapons surrendered were 10,821 single barrel guns, 636 locally-made pistols, 444 locally-made double barrel guns, 2,451 locally-made Dane guns and 662 pump action guns.

Mr. Gbum added that the weapons would be moved to 82 Division of Nigerian Army, Enugu, for destruction as spelt out in the UN extant demobilisation and reconciliation rules.

(NAN)