The Joint Military Force deployed to the Niger-Delta, Operation Delta Safe, says it has arrested two militants who are masterminds of recent attacks on oil infrastructure in the region.
The Commander of Operation Delta Safe,Rear Adm. Suileman Apochi, presented the suspects to newsmen on Thursday in Yenagoa.
According to Apochi, the suspected militants are popularly identified as ‘General Eagle’ and ‘General VIP’ in the creeks.
He said that the arrest of the suspects, who had admitted to be the brains behind attacks at Agip oilfields in Bayelsa, was due to the tenacity of operations launched against vandals by the joint force.
The commander noted that the activities of the duo were responsible for the slump in oil output, following several attacks and threats to oil firms to succumb to their demands.
He said, “I am glad to announce that two notorious kingpins, identified as General Eagle’ and ‘General VIP, have been apprehended and from interrogation, they had admitted to committing several crimes.
“The criminals and their group have at various times masterminded the destruction of oil infrastructure and sabotage to the economy.
“They have engaged in illegal bunkering and kidnap of high profile victims.
“The self-acclaimed ‘General Eagle’ said he recently organised and blew up one of the oil company’s risers at Golubokin along Obama-Brass pipeline in Bayelsa.
“He also claimed responsibility in the planting of explosives at Agip oilfields.”
The commander said that preliminary investigations had uncovered threats by text messages to oil firms and their staff to carry out more attacks if their demands for financial gratifications were not met.
He said that troops, acting on actionable intelligence, raided their hideouts in Yenagoa and arrested three other suspects currently being interrogated.
Apochi said that one of the suspects in custody of the joint force claimed, during interrogation, to be a pirate – ‘pipeline bleeding expert’ responsible for several destruction of oil facilities.
The commander then advised aggrieved groups to take advantage of the federal government’s windows of opportunities to amicably resolve grievances rather than resorting to criminal acts.
Apochi assured that the military will not rest on its oars until the region is sanitised of criminals.
He solicited the support of the public by providing timely and credible information required to fish out and flush out criminals.
He also assured that steps were being taken to ensure a crime-free yuletide as patrols had been intensified on the East-West road as well as the waterways in the Niger Delta region.