A ceasefire in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is in danger of being derailed by anger at the military over the death of an elderly local leader.
Last week, Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, the father of a fugitive former militant leader died.
The octogenarian fell while fleeing an army raid on his home town in May and injured his leg which had to be amputated two months later, a spokesman for his son said.
Mourners including community chiefs, politicians and villagers accused troops of harassing people in the fishing communities dotted along the region’s waterways.
A Niger Delta Avengers spokesman reportedly said the military was “harassing poor people of the Niger Delta”, something the military denies saying troops are merely searching for militants and criminals.
Militants launched a wave of attacks at the beginning of the year to demand a greater share of oil revenues for the poverty stricken region which produces most of Nigeria’s crude.
Sources say the fugitive former militant leader has links to those responsible for the attacks, which began shortly after corruption charges were brought against him.
He has denied any involvement.