Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Ijaw youths under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) have joined forces to free four missionaries kidnapped last Friday by suspected militants at Enekorogha community in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
As the security agencies, particularly operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) and soldiers of the 222 Battalion of Nigerian Army operating under Joint Task Force (JTF) code named Operation Delta Safe thursday upped their manhunt for the hoodlums, the IYC also directed traditional rulers as well as youths in the neigbouring communities to provide necessary information that would lead to their arrest and rescue of the victims.
â€œWe are already closing in on the kidnappers. Very soon they will be apprehended for as long as they still keep their victims. We already have information we are working on. I can assure you that the Britons will be released before the week run out,â€ the security source said.
Just as the security agents launched an intensive manhunt for the kidnappers the IYC worldwide called on the suspected militants or whosoever that is responsible for the kidnap of the four foreign missionaries to release them with immediate effect.
IYC, according to a statement signed by its President, Eric Omare, condemned the kidnap, saying there was no justification whatsoever for the act.
â€œIt is criminal and highly condemnable for foreign missionaries who were offering free medical services and preaching the gospel of God in the riverine areas of western Ijaw to be kidnapped. There is no justification whatsoever for this ungodly action. It has nothing to do with the Ijaw or Niger Delta agitation hence it must be condemned by all well-meaning people.
â€œThe IYC will collaborate with security agencies, Ijaw traditional and community leaders in and around Enekorogha and other Ijaw communities in Burutu Local Government Area to fish out the perpetrators of this criminal act,â€ it said.
To this end, the IYC clan and community structures in Esembiri, Oporomor and Mein clans have been instructed to take actions towards the release of kidnapped missionaries adding â€œcriminal conducts such as kidnapping and killing of innocent people are neither part and parcel of the Ijaw culture nor the Ijaw struggle for freedom.â€
The group called on Ijaw traditional and community leaders to be vigilant so as not to allow criminal elements the freedom to operate.
It noted that criminal conducts were bringing disrepute to the communities involved and driving away development from the communities concerned.