The Military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta has arrested an ex-militant commander, Seiyefa Gbereke, for sabotaging petroleum pipelines.
Mr. Gbereke, alias ‘Gen. Cairo’, who is alleged to be a pipeline bomber in the region, was paraded before newsmen in Yenagoa on Friday by the JTF Media Coordinator, Onyema Nwachukwu.
Mr. Nwachukwu told newsmen that the suspect had confessed that he vandalised numerous pipeline in Delta and Bayelsa.
“The suspect is vicious and notorious in the act of pipeline bombings and vandalism and had been on our radar over the past three months,” Mr. Nwachukwu said.
According to him, Mr. Gbereke confessed during interrogation by JTF Commander, Johnson Ochoga, that he bombed the Agip Manifold and trunk lines at Azagbene and Biseni communities in Bayelsa.
Mr. Nwachukwu said he also confessed to the destruction of two oil wells that caused pollution of waters in Berisindi, adding that Mr. Gbereke made his confessions “willingly and voluntarily”.
He said the suspect also admitted leading his eight-man gang to carry out other pipeline attacks in the creeks of Warri and the destruction of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) pipeline at Tuomo.
The JTF spokesman said that Mr. Gbereke, 25, hails from Bolou Orua community in the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
He said that the suspect had being hiding in Bonny Island in Rivers and Warri in Delta.
“We have been hunting him and his gang; so only yesterday (Thursday) our intelligence operatives tracked him down at Warri in Delta and lured him out of his hideout down to the JTF headquarters here in Yenagoa.’’
Mr. Gbereke, who claimed leadership of the Movement for the Survival of Niger Delta Disarmed Youths, said he was an ex-militant before the amnesty proclamation and had led a 7,000-man army.
He claimed he carried out pipeline bombings to draw government’s attention to the plight of his group.
The suspect said that his group had submitted 9,000 assorted arms and ammunition under the third phase amnesty but were yet to be documented by the authorities.
“It is the government that said we should submit arms and that we will be registered under the third phase of the amnesty programme.
“But up till date, my group is yet to be documented. We carried out numerous open protest and blocking of highways.
“ We even petitioned Kinsley Kuku, the Amnesty Director, and also attempted to take our protest to Abuja but we were stopped by security agents at Lokoja.
“Upon all these our efforts, government refused to listen to us,’’ he said.
Mr. Gbereke said that following his helpless situation, his gang resolved to attack oil pipelines to get the authorities to register them under the third phase amnesty programme.
The JTF spokesman said the suspect would remain in the custody of the task force until investigation into his activities was completed.