24 August 2016
The Joint Military Task force on Wednesday confirmed the arrest of three of the suspected Niger Delta Avengers who allegedly killed four soldiers in an ambush at Nembe, Bayelsa.
Commander of the taskforce, Joseph Okojie, who confirmed this said the military also recovered a cache of arms.
Okojie said that the raid which was aimed at apprehending the masterminds of the attack on a military post at Nembe jetty, took place on Aug. 13.
He said Troops located and raided the suspects’ hideout in a camp at Saraba creek in Okiama Community in Okigbene in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, where several items were recovered.
He said after series of coordinated patrols, the troops on Aug. 22, engaged the criminals in a shoot-out at about 2 p.m.
The commander explained that some of the militants were believed to have been killed while three suspected militants were arrested.
He said the troops also recovered arms, ammunition and the gunboat that was carted away from the Nembe attack of Aug. 8.
The taskforce commander said that in the mop-up operation on the militants’ camp at Epebu Creek in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, troops recovered nine AK47 rifles, one FN magazine, one container of gun powder and 1,145 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
He listed other recovered arms to include 2,485 rounds of 7.62mm ball Cartons, 370 rounds of 7.62mm and 1,356 rounds x7.62mm NATO ammunition.
Okojie noted that the joint taskforce conducted the operation professionally without any collateral damage.
“We shall continue to sustain this approach in line with global best practices
“It would be recalled that on Aug. 8 at about 9:30 a.m. at Nembe, four soldiers were killed by some criminal elements suspected to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers who disguised as people coming from burial parties.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate the fact that no criminal will go free, wherever they are; be rest assured we will get them and ensure they face justice.
“Let me re-affirm the commitment of the joint taskforce, `Operation Delta Safe’ and its resolve to ensure peace and economic stability in the Niger Delta region,’’ Okojie said.
The Commander said there were windows of opportunity provided by the Federal Government for amicable resolution of grievances by any aggrieved groups rather than engaging in heinous crimes of self-help.
“They should seize the opportunity and embrace peace or face the full wrath of the law.
“In the same vein, those misguided elements that bear the unachievable and unfortunate message of disunity through declaration of imaginary independence must have a rethink.
“The joint taskforce believes these unscrupulous elements have ample time and opportunities to channel their grievances properly,’’ he added.
He urged all law-abiding citizens to go about their normal businesses, saying, “we will do all within our limit to ensure safe waterways for legitimate business.
“I solicit for cooperation from members of the public in providing timely information as we continue to fish out these criminals from there hideouts.
“It will interest you to know that within two months of its establishment, Operation Delta Safe has been engaged in intensive patrols.
“Our increased surveillance resulted in the destruction of illegal refineries, militant camps, and arrest of several criminals among others,’’ he said.