The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, said on Wednesday that it had killed five suspected militants and two pirates in the last three days.
Spokesman of the force, Lt.-Cdr. Thomas Osuji, in Yenagoa said that the task force had also arrested three other suspects. He said the arrest was made at Ikot Ene, Akpabuyo Local Government Area in Cross River.
Osuji said that the troops had also rescued a boat laden with rice and some passengers earlier seized by suspected members of a gang known as Bakassi Strike Force.
He said the suspects were killed by troops from Sector 4 of the Operation Delta Safe in conjunction with some local vigilantes at Parrot Island, Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River.
“The militants had earlier seized the boat conveying large quantities of rice from a marketer and the passengers on board, asking the owner of the rice to pay N500,000 ransom.
“The troops placed bait on the suspects during the rescue operation and later professionally engaged the militants in gun duel, killing five of them and rescuing the passengers unhurt,” Osuji said.
He said that the pirates were killed by troops from Sector 3 of the Joint Task Force stationed at Idama Waterside in Rivers.
The spokesman said that a life vest; one Ak-47 riffle; 2 AK-47 magazines and 40 pieces of 7.62 mm special ammunition were recovered by the troops.
He said the troops also recovered two cell phones and one speedboat mounted with 140 horsepower outboard engine from the suspected hoodlums.
He said that the joint task force had intensified patrols of the creeks in the Niger Delta and urged the public to support the military by providing timely information.