19th October, 2010
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has issued a freshÂ threat to bomb any campaign gathering President Goodluck Jonathan might plan toÂ address.
According to MEND in a statement released via electronic mail today, the group willÂ no longer entertain any enquiries, but it will send releases to media outfits toÂ warn or make statements of claim.
The statement issued by MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, warned residents of Abuja,Â the Federal Capital Territory, and all Nigerians planning to attend politicalÂ campaigns of President Jonathan to be wary of their security.
â€œWe hereby repeat our warning to residents of Abuja and all persons who will beÂ interested in attending his political campaigns to beware,â€ MEND warned in theÂ e-mail.
â€œMEND attributed its position to what it called a split in the country that was onceÂ united and the disunity in the Niger Delta region, which it said was sponsored byÂ the President.
The arrest and detention of its member, MEND claimed, also informed its stanceÂ stressing, â€œthe arrest and detention of our respected brothers and the assassinationÂ of their characters have become of great concern to us. This we cannot ignore.â€
During the celebration of Nigeriaâ€™s 50th year independence anniversary in Abuja, twoÂ bomb explosions killed about 14 people and injured several others. MEND claimedÂ responsibility for the attack.
The group, which had earlier warned that it was planning to strike, also threatenedÂ more bomb attacks. Security was later beefed up nationwide to forestall breakdown ofÂ law and order.
A few days after the bomb blasts, coordinator of the Babaginda CampaignÂ Organisation, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, was arrested by operatives of the State SecurityÂ Service, SSS.
He was questioned in connection with an alleged text message that one of theÂ suspected bombers sent to him.
Dokpesi was later released. But he denied sponsoring the attacks. None of theÂ suspects arrested in connection with the bomb blasts has so far been arraigned in aÂ court of law.
Meanwhile, the suspected former MEND leader, Henry Okah, is facing trial in SouthÂ Africa for alleged gun running.
During his trial, Okah was said to have admitted in evidence a diary where heÂ entered words like â€œa fight to the finishâ€ two weeks before the Abuja bombings.