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Biafra: Militants threaten to blow up hijacked ship

The merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS and its crew hijacked   by pro-Biafra militants weekend has been released, according to the latest report. The ship was…

The merchant ship, MT LEON DIAS and its crew hijacked   by pro-Biafra militants weekend has been released, according to the latest report.
The ship was flying the Liberia national flag when it was hijacked by gunmen off the coast of Continuo, Benin Republic.
The ship is said to be a chemical/oil tanker and is currently under the custody of the Beninois Navy.
The Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Kabir Aliyu, confirmed to Daily Trust that the ship and her crew members had been freed.
Commodore Aliyu, said through a text message: “The name of the ship is MT LEON DIAS (9279927). An oil tanker, the ship is presently in Benin waters, about 75 nautical miles off Cotonou Port and she is under the watch of the Benin Republic Navy.”
Pro-Biafra militants had  threatened  to blow up the ship with its foreign crew if the federal government did not release one of its leaders, Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, is currently on trial in Abuja for treason. 
Major General Rabe Abubakar, the Defense spokesman, confirmed that the hijacking occurred on Friday and called it “an act of sabotage.”
Other military sources yesterday told The Associated Press that the navy was in pursuit of the captured vessel.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the issue is sensitive, said the hijackers had given the government 31 days to free Kanu or they would  blow up the ship along with its crew.
The ultimatum was given at the weekend by a militant who simply identified himself as General Ben.
Uchena Madu, a leader of the Movement for the Actualization of a Sovereign State of Biafra said Ben was not a separatist but “some Niger Delta militant who has shown interest in working with us.”
The hijacking indicates the separatists could be working with some Niger Delta oil militants blamed for recent bombings of oil pipelines in the oil-rich south.
The DSS on October 17 detained Nnamdi Kanu, director of banned Radio Biafra,  accusing  him of terrorism.
Defence spokesman Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar also confirmed the ship was last night under the watch of the Benin Republic Navy.
Maritime industry sources in earlier report indicated the vessel was an oil tanker seized about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off Nigeria’s Bakassi Peninsula, along Nigeria’s south-eastern Atlantic Ocean coastline, near the border with Cameroon.
  “The group boarded the tanker from two fast boats and took control over the vessel and locked the crew in the mess room”   before heading for the Niger Delta, the Bulgarian-based Maritime News reported yesterday.

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