Troops of Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS) have clashed with militants believed to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers in the creeks of Delta State.
The troops of Sector 1 of ODS were said to have encountered the militants and engaged them in a gun duel at the Batan-Egwa creeks in Warri South-west Local Government Area of the state.
The operatives were reportedly deployed in an outpost of the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) to protect the facilities of the firm when they saw two 200 horsepower boats conveying the militants.
The Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC) of ODS, Lt. Col. Olaolu Dauda, confirmed the encounter in a statement in Yenagoa but said the troops repelled the militants.
“They came in 200 horsepower speed capacity boats but were subsequently engaged and repelled. Effort is ongoing to apprehend the criminals”, he said.
He, however, added: “Troops at Batan reported a loud sound suspected to be an explosion. Further findings revealed that a barge carrying equipment used for the repairs of the Trans Forcados Pipeline at the repair site in Eweregbene community was blown by suspected Niger Delta Avengers militants who retreated after troops repelled the attack.
“However, two unexploded dynamites found at the scene on a branch and swamp buggy were successfully detonated by our troops”.
Olaolu also disclosed that troops of Sector 2, Bayelsa State, in conjunction with Special Forces conducted patrols at Sand-sand Fishing Camp and uncovered attempts by militants to reactivate an earlier-destroyed camp.
“The troops engaged the suspected militants and killed one of them popularly called ‘Edoboy’. He was one of the notorious kinpins on the wanted list of security agencies who had been terrorizing innocent members of the communities in the area”, he said.
He said the troops also engaged another group of suspected sea robbers at creeks close to Lobia community in Bayelsa.
He said: “One suspect popularly known as “Stainless Gobo” was killed while others escaped with various degrees of injuries towards Lobia Community.
“The killed suspected sea robber is believed to be affiliated to a wanted militant called “VIP”. One AK 47, two magazines, 29 rounds of 7.62milimeter special, 10 empty cases, seven charms, two head warmers and a cutlass were recovered from the scene”.
The spokesman said a passenger boat was rescued from sea robbers at Idoro River in Ozobo Community, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
He said while trying to escape, the sea robbers’ vessel collided with the passenger boat and capsized adding that four of the suspects were nabbed.
He said troops were making efforts to recover four locally-made double-barrel guns belonging to the suspects from the river while the arrested suspects were being quizzed.
Olaolu further said that a wooden boat conveying 53 drums of illegally-refined petroleum product were intercepted at Asugbo Tibigbene and Beneth River Warri South Local Government.
The spokesman confirmed that one Vincent Moses and Emuotu Godbless Oghenechonuohwo were arrested with a white coloured Toyota Hiace bus conveying ten plastic drums with 220 litre capacity each and 19 jerrycans of suspected Automated Gas Oil (AGO).
They were arrested along Okwagbe – Ughelli road and handed over to the Delta State Command of the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Olaolu also confirmed that one Usman Jafar, 21-year-old indigene of Adamawa State was arrested for parading himself as a serving soldier.
Jafar, who was alleged to have robbed one Atima Aghogho along Ajanuga road had in possession a fake Nigerian Army Identity Card, one First Bank of Nigeria ATM Card and an iphone belonging to one of his victims.
The spokesman further said that following a tip off, troops in conjunction with members of Petroleum Task Force conducted a raid at Ifieporo community in Warri South Local Government and discovered an area used as dump site and piling up place of products before being loaded into trucks.
He said: “Other items discovered are several rubber drums and Jerricans containing substance suspected to be illegal oil bunkering mats. Troops also recovered a black coloured Audi vehicles loaded with several water proof bags containing substance suspected to be products of illegal bunkering.
“Following another tip off troops discovered 4 identified hideouts used for storing substance suspected to be illegally refined Automated Gas Oil around Ohoro junction, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. No arrests were made while troops are on the trail of the perpetrators.
“Earlier on today, the troops arrested one Mr Victor Bassey, alleged bugler while on routine check. Items recovered include: One Hundred and Thirty Six Thousand Naira (N136,000:00) only, one Ifinix Note II handset, one venue handset. Items and suspect will be handed over to the Nigeria Police”.
On the mop-up operation at Cross River South, the spoeksman said that troops conducted anti-militancy patrol around Ekpirikan, Maternity and Idebe axis of Bakassi Local Government Area.
“One suspected militant known as John Ita was arrested based on tip off in his residence at Idebe in Bakassi. A car and motorcycle were recovered from him.
“Similarly, troops deployed at Ikang located an illegal assembly of suspected members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Bakassi Local Government Area, Cross River State.
“They were distributing flyers, leaflets, tea-shirts, food items and other materials in order to lure and mobilize members at Epiri – Ikang axis. The intention was to hold a meeting on how to mobilize and influence people in support of IPOB.
“The suspects,Comrade Prince Obuka (National President Biafra Nation Youth League), Mr Slvanus Uzor and Mrs Ada Emechetta were subsequently arrested along Ikang – Cameroun border.
“It should be noted that the Acting Commander, Operation DELTA SAFE, Brigadier General Kevin Aligbe reiterates that any illegal assembly to propagate Biafra or any such group will not be tolerated or condoned.
“Furthermore, he expresses his appreciation to the people of the region for their continued support and co operation”.