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Hundreds of ex-Niger Delta militants on Tuesday
protested the alleged non-payment of their stipends by the Federal Government.
The protesting ex-militants began the demonstration
at about 7am, blocking the Mbiama section of the
East-West Road, which links the South-South region to the South-East.
Their protest paralyzed vehicular movement even as pedestrians could not use the road. Not a few motorists were trapped on the road during the protest.
Respite, however, came the way of the trapped motorists when a detachment of soldiers of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, stormed the scene and dispersed the protesters.
The troops later stormed the scene around 7:30am in two patrol vans and dismantled the barricades erected by the protesters.
The soldiers fired several warning shots into the air
which created confusion among the protesters,
forcing them to scamper for safety in different
directions.
It was, however, learnt that one of the protesting ex-
militants was allegedly hit by a stray bullet.
An ex-militant, Mr. Elliot Seimiebo, accused the
soldiers of using firearms to disperse a peaceful
protest aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal
Government to the plight of the militants.
Seimiebo said, “We had renounced violence and
remained peaceful in all our approaches. Our intention
was to draw attention to the non-payment of our
stipends for four months.

“We were not armed but the soldiers turned their
weapons on us and there was confusion as people ran
in all directions. One of the protesters was hit by a
stray bullet in the leg.”
When contacted, spokesperson for Operation Delta
Safe, Lt.-Cmdr. Thomas Otuji, said that no protester
was shot.
Otuji said, “Our troops were sent to the scene to
restore traffic flow and they went there to clear the
barricade on the East-West Road.
“And there is no such report at my disposal as we
speak. The protesters were professionally dispersed.”
Also, the Liaison Officer at the Amnesty Office in
Yenagoa, Mr. Piriye Kirayamo, said that efforts were
under way to pay the backlog of stipends owed the
militants.
“We have been in discussion with the ex-militants and
have been appealing to them to remain calm. The
office is doing everything possible to ensure that their
stipends are paid,” Kiyaramo said.

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