JTF declares Bakassi militant leader wanted

Johnbosco Agbakwuru

27 August 2012, Sweetcrude, CALABAR—THE Joint Miliary Task Force on the Niger Delta, JTF, has declared the leader of the militant group, Lapto Marine Force, wanted over the abduction of 28 oil workers recently rescued from the camp of the militant group by officers of the task force.

The oil workers, who are employees of the Chinese oil servicing company, Sinepoc, were rescued on Ikang waterways in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The JTF said, Sunday, that one of the workers, who allegedly ran away out of fear, when the Task Force attacked the militants camp, has been rescued in neighbouring Akpabuyo Local Government Area.

Commander of JTF, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, Major General Johnson Ochoga, said, “The 28th person has been found. All of them are safe. The one that was not immediately seen has been picked up and he is safe. They have been handed back to the oil company, Sinopec.

“The last person was rescued at Akpabuyo. The 27 others were rescued from Lapto’s camp in the creeks, close to Ikang. All the oil workers were kidnapped when they were going to Sinopec’s worksite in Akwa Ibom State.”

JTF also denied allegations that the militant group was agitating for self determination for Bakassi people.

Although JTF had on Saturday, when it rescued the abducted oil workers, declared the gang leader, Lapto wanted, Gen. Ochoga, who said the militant leader was on the run, maintained, “He is declared wanted. He is not a friend to any one, if he can take 28 Nigerians captive and this is not the first of its kind.”

One of the rescued workers, Mr. Boniface Christopher, explained that their abductors picked them up on their way to work at Coco River, adding that they were ordered to lie down before their raincoats were used to blindfold them.

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  • Lapto cannot possibly be the name of the gang leader. Perhaps if there was a real name and a photograph, it would have helped the public know better what they are on the look out for.