Militants Attack Home Of Jonathan's 'Amnesty' Adviser, Timi Alaibe
Gunmen armed with explosives have attacked the home of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's top adviser on the Niger Delta oil region, police in the southern state of Bayelsa said on Friday.
Timi Alaibe, who was the main co-ordinator of an amnesty programme for militants in the region last year, was not at home when the attack happened late on Thursday night, his aides and family members said. "His house in Opokuma was attacked by yet-to-be identified gunmen some minutes to midnight last night. They attacked the place with dynamite and guns causing damage to the building," Bayelsa state police spokesman Eguavoen Emokpae said.
He said the motive for the attack was unclear and no arrests had yet been made. Thousands of gunmen laid down weapons under the amnesty programme, brokered by President Jonathan, which brought more than a year of relative peace in the heartland of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.
But the militants were always highly factionalized and while the main field commanders were given significant payments for accepting the amnesty, some of their followers have complained that stipends have gone unpaid and that there are no jobs.
The main militant group, the Movement of the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND), kidnapped seven foreign crew members from an Afren oil rig on Sunday, including two U.S., two French, two Indonesian and one Canadian national.
It also claimed responsibility for car bombings near an Independence Day parade in the capital Abuja on October 1, which killed at least 10 people.
A resurgence in violence in the Niger Delta would be an embarrassment for Jonathan, who is the first Nigerian head of state to come from the region, in the run-up to presidential elections expected next April.
The Niger Delta amnesty is considered one of the main achievements of the current administration in Africa's most populous nation. (Reuters)