Soldiers from the 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army have foiled a robbery attack by Iceland, a notorious cult group in Obi-ebe, Ogba/Egbeme/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers.
Lt.-Cdr. Timothy Opurum, the Garrison Commander of the brigade, told newsmen in Port Harcourt that officers on patrol intercepted the armed cultists and arrested a member of the gang.
Opurum disclosed that the group had earlier attacked members of the Rivers Amnesty Committee who, in company with soldiers, were heading to a forum where amnesty was to be granted to repentant cultists.
He said that the gang also burnt down buildings and army patrol vehicles at Obiozimini, Egi, in the same local government area.
The member of the gang that was arrested was a 20 year-old school leaver from Obiozumini .
He said the leader of the cult group in his community had directed him and other members to go to Obi-ebe to collect money from some persons and gave him one AK47 rifle to execute the assignment.
“When we got to Obi-ebe, I saw a boy who exchanged greetings with us. After that, I was asked to stand on the road and they started shooting.
“Other members of the group ran into the bush when the army intercepted us and I was caught,” he said.
He also said some members of his group were willing to accept the amnesty offer but added that their leader had refused because he wanted compensation for his properties allegedly destroyed by the military.
“I was in Obite when the amnesty committee came but I was not allowed by the other groups to register because my group refused to come along with our arms.
“The groups said that I should go and bring the gun I am using before they will allow me to join them and register,” he said.
Ken Chinda, the Special Adviser to Gov. Nyesom Wike on Amnesty, said that there were groups in the local government frustrating the amnesty programme.
“I have said it severally that some young men from Obiozimini and their sponsors are frustrating the amnesty programme of the Rivers government in Egi clan.
“They said that the government does not want to pay them money to surrender their arms and that is why they are not forthcoming. You can see the result now,” he said.
Chinda, who is also the Chairman of the Rivers Amnesty Committee, said government was sincere on the implementation of the amnesty programme.