A group in the Niger Delta region, Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), has surrendered part of its arms to show its desire to lay down arms if the Federal Government addresses their concerns.
Lt. Col. Olaolu Daudu, the spokesman of Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta, confirmed the development in a statement issued and made available to Nigerian Tribune in Yenagoa.
Daudu said that the terms of the surrender were being worked out by Cross River Command of Department of State Security Services and Cross River government.
He said that the militant group had turned in one general purpose machine gun (GPMG) and an AK-47 rifle as a show of good faith towards the peace deal.
“Available information from Sector 4 in Cross River State indicates that Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) militants led by one Mr Benjamin Ene have expressed unreserved willingness to lay down their arms.
“They have contacted the Department of State Security Services in Cross River State through the state government’s appointed rapporteur on amnesty to signify their readiness to hold talks on amnesty with the relevant authorities.
“To buttress this demonstration of goodwill, BSF turned in one GPMG and an AK-47 rifle.
“The Department of State Security Services representatives and representatives of the rapporteur have since recovered the arms as talks are ongoing on modalities to surrender their remaining arms,” Daudu said.
It will be recalled that leader of the group, Mr Benjamin Ene aka ‘Humble Lion G1’ had on November 1 expressed the desire to surrender in a video message where he listed conditions for surrendering his stockpile of ammunition.
Ene said that the group was not out to vandalise national assets, but for the wellbeing of the people who reside in Bakassi, now ceded to Cameroon.
The leader, who spoke from his camp in the creeks of southern Cross River, said that unlike other militant groups, it had no record of oil installation destruction or molestation of the citizens.
Daudu said that the Acting Commander the Joint Military Force deployed to the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, Brig. Gen. Kevin Aligbe has applauded the move by the militant group to surrender and embrace peace.
Aligbe maintained that the military has zero tolerance for militancy and related crimes in the Joint Operations Area and urged other aggrieved groups to emulate the BSF by laying down their arms.
According Daudu, the Commander advised the other Niger Delta militants groups to embrace the reconciliatory channels open at both State and Federal levels.
The spokesman also said that troops of Sector 3, following a tip off on Wednesday swiftly reacted and swooped on suspected sea robbers around Kumfari Community near Idama in Rivers State.
During the encounter, one suspected sea robber was killed, two were wounded and seven others apprehended as one locally made pistol and machete were recovered.