- Kill seven militants during operation
By MIKE TAYESE, Yenogoa
The Joint Military Task Force deployed to the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, has said that it killed five suspected militants, two pirates and arrested three suspects in several operations in the past three days.
Troops reportedly intercepted a boat fully loaded with bags of rice and passengers and confiscated the consignment from suspected militants who were killed in the interception operation at Parrot Island in Bakassi Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River.
Lt.-Cdr. Thomas Osuji, Spokesman of the joint force, said on Wednesday that the feats were achieved in the ongoing operations against criminals and oil thieves in the Niger Delta region.
According to Otuji, troops deployed to its sector 4 and local vigilance group ambushed and killed five suspected members of Bakassi Strike Force militant’s gang who hijacked the loaded boat and passengers.
“The militants had earlier seized the boat conveying large quantities of rice from a marketer and passengers on board and the owner of the rice was asked to pay N500,000 ransom,” Otuji said.
“The troop placed a ‘bait’ during the rescue operation and later professionally engaged the militants in gun duel and killed five of them before rescuing the passengers unhurt,” Otuji explained.
He said that the troops also arrested two suspected militants and a cultist at Ikot Ene, Akpabuyo LGA in Cross Rivers, who are currently in custody for interrogation.
Otuji also said that in another development, troops of Sector 3 of Operation Delta Safe at Idama water side in Rivers got reports of pirates attack on innocent citizens and responded sinking the pirates boat.
The spokesman said that one Ak-47 riffle, three magazines with 20 pieces of 7.62 mm special ammunition and a life vest were recovered from the pirates who used a banned 200 Horse Power outboard engine.
He said that following a tip off, troops deployed at Kula-Abonema waterways killed two suspected sea pirates at Sonykiri creeks near Olakpoko in Kula while two escaped with gunshot injuries.
According to Otuji, one Ak-47 riffle, 2 AK-47 magazines, 40 pieces on 7.62 mm special ammunition, two mobile phones and one speedboat mounted with 140 horsepower outboard engine were recovered by the troops.
Otuji said that troops had intensified patrols in the ongoing operations and urged to members of the public to support the military by providing timely information toaid in securing the Niger Delta region.