- Title: NIGERIA: Army clash with new militant group - at least four dead
- Date: 10th March 2010
- Summary: CHILD WANDERING FROM THE BUSH
- Embargoed: 25th March 2010 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Reuters ID: LVADEEW78RYSHUX63GIOU7U5RC4N
- Story Text: The Nigerian army says it recently clashed with a new group of militants in the county's oil Niger Delta, killing at least four of its members and wounding several others.
The gun fight took place in the village of Okolobiri, on the outskirts of Yanagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
It started after an army search team was ambushed by members of the newly formed Blue Izon Freedom Fighters.
Frightened villagers said they were forced to flee their homes after the gun battle broke out last week.
The militants had set up a recruitment camp inside the village.
Milla Okuku, who is 68, said he was coming out of the bush when he saw the soldiers. They asked him if he would go back to his house, but then the shooting started and he ran back into the bush.
Stella Yorikugha, a mother of three, said there was lots of shooting. And fires were lit.
Villagers expressed concern at the group's drive to recruit more young men to join what appeared to be preparations for a major raid on nearby oil installations. The leader of the group, Samson Blue better know in the village as 'King Blue', was killed in the gun battle.
Several AK47 assault rifles, ammunition and high explosives were recovered by the military.
Timothy Antigha, army spokesman in Bayelsa, said a search of a shrine uncovered evidence members of the group were not only cultists, but militants.
He wants to know where they managed to get hold of the weapons, as there had been an amnesty and weapons had been returned to the government.
A number of soldiers were wounded in the shooting and are being treated in hospital.
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