The Defence Headquarters has given the go-ahead for the burial of a notorious sea piracy kingpin and leader of the Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF), John Togo, over two years after he was killed in a clash with troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
The Nation reliably gathered that the JTF has received the approval to release the body of the crime lord to relevant authority for burial.
Sources said the delay in burying the scar-face militant, who was a factional leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), was due to the Federal Government’s directives that a DNA test be carried out on his decomposing remains.
Togo was killed in an aerial assault by the Airforce arm of the JTF in May 2011 after a five-month stand-off between his ragtag army and troops of the JTF.
He died after he renounced the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government in November 2010, took up arms and went back to the trenches with a handful of his fellow NDLF members.
He triggered a furious manhunt when he ambushed and killed about six soldiers of a JTF team near Ayakoromo in November 2010; the incident led to the invasion of the community and burning down of about 50 houses in the Ijaw community.
Thereafter, the JTF intensified manhunt for him and his boys, who were encamped at the ‘Israel Camp’ of the group in an isolated boundary area between Bayelsa and Delta states.
He was killed after months of bloody clashes and his gang members buried his remains in a shallow grave before fleeing the scene.
His body was later exhumed when the JTF sent in ground troops, who arrested one of the fleeing militants who led them to his burial site.
The remains could not be buried due to the military’s insistence that a DNA must be conducted to properly identify his body before the manhunt launched for him would be officially called off.
The DNA test, which confirmed the remains as that of Togo, was carried out leading to the recent approval given for his burial.
A top official of the JTF in Effurun Barracks, Capt. Mohammed Abdulahi, was contacted by our reporter, confirmed the report.
He said: “It is true that approval has been given for the burial of Togo, but it is not the task of the JTF to bury him, the body will be released to the Police.”
A source at the JTF’s headquarters, Yenagoa said the approval came last Wednesday.