Army releases 3 Tompolo associates in its custody

Three suspected associates of embattled ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, arrested about a fortnight ago in Warri, Delta State have been released by the Nigeria Army.

The associates were arrested on suspicion that they had a link to the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA and know the whereabouts of the runaway ex-militant leader.

Two of the suspects, Simeone Bebenimibo, a member of the Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, DWLSC, Warri and Bomby Oluba hail from Okerenkoko community, Gbaramatu kingdom in the state. The other, Ayiri, an Itsekiri, is a driver to the Chief Security Officer, CSO, to Tompolo, Ebipade Kari.

Tompolo had last week, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, cried out that his family and associates were under siege by the army, navy and DSS.

He also said his 84-year-old father, Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, was being brutalized by soldiers and had his leg amputated recently by doctors to save his life.

However, one of the released associates, Simeone Bebenimibo has told Saturday Vanguard that he knows who orchestrated his arrest.

He said this in a phone interview. He said: “Actually, I know nothing about the Niger Delta Avengers. I am a politician, a onetime councilor representing Gbaramatu ward, Okerenkoko, one- time SA on Security to Governor Timipre Sylva and presently, Member, Delta State Waterways and Lands Security Committee.”

“Before I was arrested, I was receiving threat messages on my phone from one of my younger cousins, that I am part of the Niger Delta Avengers and that he is going to arrest me.

“I told him that if you are the one that is going to arrest me, I would be very proud because I would know where my problems are coming from, but though I never believed he was go to go through with his plan,” he said.

Bebenimibo stated: “My arrest was a setup and I am saying this categorically because when I was arrested, members of my immediate and extended family confronted the person having being aware of earlier threat messages he sent to me.”

“When accosted, he boasted to them that I am going to rot in detention as far as the APC government, which he is a member is in power for having the effrontery to boast with him,” he added.

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