The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has said that contrary to claims by the family of the released sister of President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide, Augusta Douglas-Ayam, the sum of $200,000 (N32m) was paid as ransom.
MEND in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, on Saturday, said though the victim was released unharmed, she developed high blood pressure and malaria while in captivity.
The militant group also said it was responsible for the destruction of feeder pipelines and well heads in Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states from October 20, 2013 to October 26.
The group also claimed it had engaged some members of the Joint Military Task Force in a shootout and killed three soldiers and one policeman contrary to the statement issued by the JTF that armed robbers ambushed its men.
“The sister of Mr. Oronto Douglas, special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research and Strategy was released unharmed as we promised. She however had developed high blood pressure and malaria during her captivity.
“Contrary to the claim the family made in a press statement that no ransom was paid, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta can authoritatively confirm that the sum of $200,000 was paid as ransom.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta now has agents inside every oil company. In neighbouring Rivers State, on that same day that the Warri Refinery was sabotaged, a Joint Task Force escort gun boat was engaged in a shootout in the Andoni Local Government area.”
It stated that contrary to the report given by the Nigerian Army spokesman, the soldiers were not ambushed but confronted and the attackers were not armed robbers but MEND fighters. It said the attack resulted in the killing of three soldiers and a policeman.
MEND decried the action of some ex-militants who had been paid to declare that militancy ended in 2009, saying, “As they continue to delude themselves, display their ignorance and irrelevance, the region, as can be seen by the world is in turmoil that can no longer be hidden.”