The Niger Delta Avengers, a resurgent militant group responsible for the recent string of attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region, has on Tuesday, described as false, a claim by the Nigerian Army that 10 of its members were arrested.
On Sunday, the 4th Brigade of the Nigerian Army, garrisoned in Benin, had said it arrested 10 suspected militants and pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region.
However, in a post on its Twitter handle, @NDAvengers early Tuesday, the Avengers said the military’s claims were spurious.
“Our attention has (been) drawn to the arrest of 10 Niger Delta Avengers’ boys by Nigeria Military. None of our strike team has been arrested,” the group said. “It’s all a lie.”
The group also denied that any of its members had been killed, contrary to a claim credited to the military Joint-Task Force operating in the region.
“Nigeria Military also lied that NDA kill(ed) soldiers. We haven’t engaged in combat with them but if they want us to kill them let them come after us,” it said on another tweet.
In a swift reaction, the Army spokesman, Sani Usman, said those paraded confirmed membership of the militant group during interrogations.
“We paraded them for the world to see because we were able to establish that they’re militants and members of that new group,” Mr. Sani, a colonel, said. “The group has resulted to propaganda because they know the media will report their activities and I think the general public should be wary of the unfounded claims being made by this faceless group.”
“Nigerian Army is a constituted authority in this country and we will not lower ourselves to cheap lies like the Avengers, that is where you can’t see any basis for comparison between us and them.”