YENAGOA, Nigeria, Sept 8 The father of a former
Nigerian militant leader has died after sustaining injuries
during a government military campaign aimed at halting attacks
on infrastructure in the oil-producing Delta region, his
spokesman said late on Wednesday.
Government Ekpemupolo, known as Tompolo, is a commander of
the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a
group that spearheaded attacks on oil and gas installations in
Nigeria's Delta region in the early 2000s until a government
amnesty programme halted the attacks by offering contracts to
protect pipelines and oil production equipment.
His 84-year-old father, Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, died at a
hospital in Warri, Delta state, as a result of injuries
sustained during military incursions into his community, a
spokesman for Tompolo said.
Comment from the government was not immediately available.
The death may inflame hostilities in the oil-rich region,
which kicked off not long after an arrest warrant was issued for
Tompolo in January on charges of corruption.
The violence has shut down more than 700,000 barrels per day
of oil production and exacerbated an economic crisis in a nation
reeling from its first recession in two decades. Tompolo has
denied any involvement in the attacks on oil and gas
infrastructure, as well as the corruption charges. He remains in
While oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said were
progressing with various militant groups over a ceasefire, the
military is simultaneously waging a campaign aimed at stamping
out attackers. Locals have criticized the efforts as heavy
handed, and said they risk fuelling more dissent, while other
militant groups have said they run contrary to the ceasefire
In a statement on Wednesday, the Niger Delta Avengers, the
group that has claimed responsibility for bulk of the attacks
this year, but recently declared a ceasefire, said the military
campaign will "undermine any genuine disposition from your
government towards restoration of tranquility in the Niger
(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Libby George; Editing by