Troops ‘Kill’ Four Top Niger Delta Militants
The Joint Military Taskforce, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, on Thursday confirmed the killings of four high-profile militants and dismantling of militant camps from the nine states of the Niger Delta region that had resisted arrest and engaged in gun battle with the troops during security operations.
Among militants neutralised by the troops, according to the Army, include Issy Ibori (Ondo), Commander Augustine Gbangbanran (Delta), Oyawerikumor, also known as Kariowei (Bayelsa) and leader of the Bakassi Strike Force also known as GI.
Addressing Journalists in Yenagoa, the Acting Director of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Brigadier-General John Agim, and the Deputy Commandant of Operation Delta Safe, Brigadier-General, K. O. Aligbe, said although the security operations in the Niger Delta region were launched in different forms since 2016, the troops of the Niger Delta Task Force codenamed ‘Operation Restore Hope’ also recovered 1,389 heavy arms and 20,352 0items of ammunition.
Brigadier Agim said those militants neutralized with camps destroyed were major threats to the peace of the region and national security.
He stated that the security operations and anti-oil theft operations in the region were part of the directives of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakan towards meeting the strategic expectations for the establishment of the Operation Delta Safe.
“Some of the achievements made include enhanced safety of lives, rise in crude oil production, recovery of arms and ammunition, seizure, impoundment and destruction of illegal refineries and ancillaries, and arrest of suspects,” he said
On the Army’s efforts to degrade the capacity of criminals involved in crude oil theft and associated crimes, he said troops in the Niger Delta region had seized and impounded 24 vessels, 191 barges, 234 outboard engines and 476 other types of passenger boats.
“Additionally, the force has seized 105 tanker trucks, 228 other vehicles and 610 pumping machines as well as 76 generator sets and 5,842 other items used in facilitating illegalities.
“Suffice to state that part of the Force’s efforts to deny criminals any freedom of action involves the destruction of their safe havens and the items used in perpetrating the illegalities. The force has in this process destroyed 1,437 illegal refineries, 795 wooden cargo boats, 3,872 metal surface tanks, 1,019 plastic tanks, 13,129 drums and 13,343 jerry cans.”
On the prosecution of suspected criminals in the region, Aligbe said although the military is saddled with the duty to arrest suspects, the prosecution agencies are to arraign them in court.
“We had over 66 cases prosecuted and 48 were successful and two cases were lost in court,” he added.