Sapele — If information reaching Vanguard is to be relied upon, the Egbema Radical Group, ERG, the Ijaw militants, which claimed responsibility for the killing of no fewer than 12 Itsekiri natives and burning down of over seven village belonging to Itsekiris in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, will hand-over their arms and ammunition to the Joint military Task Force, JTF, Operation Pulo Shield.
The JTF is under the command of Lt Col Frank Etim, the Commanding Officer of the 3 battalion of the Army Koko Barracks, Warri North.
It was gathered, yesterday, that the militant had promised to hand over their arms on July 17, 2013 and that they preferred to do so at Oputuputu community, an Ijaw suburb in Warri North, but failed to do so on Wednesday, as they claimed there were no concrete arrangements that would guarantee their safety during the exercises.
A prominent member of Egbema Gbaramatu Kingdom, Reverend Sam Eke, told Vanguard on phone that the handover of arms and ammunition was botched on the part of the Ijaw militants and that a new arrangement was in progress as a new date would be communicated to JTF and the council authority after a council meeting in Abuja of prominent Ijaw and Itsekiri leaders.
The militants were said to be ready to hand-over their arms on the condition that their safety would be guaranteed.
When Vanguard visited Koko, the headquarters of the council, senior military officers and ratings as well as other JTF men were seen prepared to receive the militants and their arms and ammunition.
They were also joined in the waiting by some prominent Ijaw and Itsekiri leaders as well as the Chairman of Warri North council, Mr David Edun and other senior official of the council, all of who waited in vain as the militants did not turn up for reason which was later attributed to poor security to guarantee the lives of militants.
The council Chairman, Edun told Vanguard, during the waiting period that no date had been given for the handover and that negotiation was still in progress with a view to concluding arrangement between security officials and the militants.