By Funmi Ajala:

The Delta State commissioner for information, Oma Djebah, has confirmed that there was an explosion in Warri, near the venue of a ceremony to mark an amnesty for former rebel fighters.

Contrary to agency reports which indicated that the device went off near the main hall of the event, Mr. Djebah claimed that the explosion went off in a car parked away from the venue.

Delta Millitant

Armed youth of the Niger Delta region. Photo: NEXT

“Yes, there was an explosion about 200 meters away from the conference venue,” Mr. Djebah said in a telephone interview.

It remains unclear if there were any casualties or injuries as at the time of this report. The ceremony, a post-amnesty dialogue, organised by Vanguard Group of Newspapers, has however been put off until later in the day.

“The explosion happened while Sam Amuka-Pemu – the Vanguard Publisher – was giving his address after the chairman, Patrick Aziza, had given his opening remarks,” said a source who was at the conference.

However, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an e-mailed statement to journalists that it had planted three explosive devices in and around nDelta State Governmet House in Warri to debunk the state governor’s claim about MEND.

“After receiving the baton of ignorance from his Bayelsa State counterpart, the governor of Delta State declared in the Vanguard newspaper of February 22, 2010 that “the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is a media creation,” the statement said and promised that it would detonate the first bomb remotely at 11:30 hours Nigerian time which it did.

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