Nigeria: Government winning war against Niger Delta militants

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The Nigerian government appears to be winning its war against oil militants as the government’s anti-rebel military forces capture more rebel hideouts in the troubled Niger Delta.

Since the Independence Day bombings by rebels of the Niger Delta in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, the government’s anti-rebel military forces, also known as the Joint Task Force (JTF), have staged a series of raids in recent weeks targeting John Togo, the leader of the Niger Delta Liberation Force, a little-known militant group.

Following the JTF’s raid on three militant camps on December 1, in the restive southern delta, during which a considerable number of heavy weaponry was seized, JTF Commander Major General Charles Omoregie has announced that eight camps operated by a notorious militant group have been voluntarily surrendered.

“The Joint Task Force has taken over eight camps formerly owned by Ateke Tom during the stormy days of militancy in the Niger Delta,” Omoregie told reporters on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian military, Timothy Antigha, said Ateke has shown that he is indeed committed to ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable peace in the Niger Delta.

But despite the peaceful and voluntary surrender of the camps, a statement released by the Niger Delta Liberation Force claimed that more than 100 people, the majority of them civilians, died during the December 1 attack by the Nigerian Joint Task Force.

The Niger Delta rebels have attacked pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company employees and fought government troops since 2006.

A total of 11 militant camps have now been seized and it appears the hardline taken by the government on militancy in the southern delta since the car bombing is curbing the oil-driven unrest in the region.

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