The military unit deployed to Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta oil region to protect facilities and personnel said Tuesday it had uncovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition belonging to a fleeing militia leader, Ateke Tom.
Lt.-Col Sagir Musa, spokesman for the joint military task force which is based in the oil city of Port Harcourt, told journalists the force discovered the cache 8 March at the forest base of Tom, who is the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, which has been blamed for a number of atrocities in the area.
According to him, the cache contains 13,694 rounds of ammunition of different weapons, 32 assorted riffles and 28 magazines for different weapons.
Also discovered, according to the spokesman, was an underground pipeline that ran from the Port Harcourt refinery through Ateke’s uncompleted building to a private jetty.
Most of the militia leaders operating in the region depend on resources from illegal bunkering (stealing of crude oil/refined products) to sustain their campaign of terror.
Violence, including kidnappings, have wracked the Niger Delta in recent times as a growing number of militant and criminal groups step up their activities in the region.