The destruction of active militant and illegal refining camps in the creeks of the state were part of many operations in the Exercise Eagle Eye (EEE) carried out in the Niger Delta region by the Navy between Thursday and Saturday.
A team of senior naval officers sent by the Chief of Naval Staff including Director Doctrine, Naval Doctrine and Assessment Centre, Commodore Vincent Okeke were on ground to appraise the operational capabilities of the navy in the state.
The operations were conducted by the Nigerian Naval Ship SOROH, Yenagoa, the Foreword Operational Base (FOB), Formoso, Brass and the navy’s special force, the Flaming Warriors, who were sent from Abuja and Lagos State.
The forces stormed different creeks in the region destroying militant camps, illegal refineries and arresting suspected sea robbers and militants.
In one of the operations led by the Commanding Officer, Formoso, Capt. Mayowa Olukoya, at about 2am on Friday, the forces nabbed four suspected sea robbers.
The suspects, who were said to have terrorised traders and residents of some riverine communities in the state, were paraded at the jetty of the FOB Formoso.
They confessed that they were behind some attacks on traders and residents of communities along the waterways.
The suspected hoodlums, who gave their names as Messrs. Lucky Abraham, Enatimi Peter, Gift Monday and Felix Nathan, also said they were working for one militant, identified as Thomas.
The suspects further said that they threw some of their weapons such as a pump action rifle, AK47 rifle and a radio walkie talkie into the river when they were being pursued by the navy.
They were later apprehended at Masunkiri, some kilometres away from FOB Formoso, in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Explaining the exercise, the Commander, NNS Soroh, Commodore Habib Usman, described the Exercise Eagle Eye as the annual sea inspection operation by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe-Ibas.
He said the exercise was aimed at enhancing maritime security in Nigerian territorial waters.
Usman said: “The exercise is part of the Chief of Naval Staff annual event. It started on December 1. The first phase was the riverine operations involving Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. What you have witnessed in Bayelsa is the team covering the state.
“The objective of the exercise is to assess the operational capability of the Naval forces on ground. During the operation, a number of arrests were made, a number of militant camps have been razed and a number of illegal refineries have also been destroyed.
“This is all part of the ongoing efforts to rid the riverine areas of the Niger Delta of all forms of illegalities so that economic activities can thrive.”
Usman said the naval forces arrested four sea robbers when their camp was raided, adding that they (suspects) were armed with sophisticated weapons.
He said that the suspects on sighting their troops, opened fire on them adding that the troops overpowered and arrested them.
Usman, who led the exercise in the state said that the suspects were giving the Navy useful information to help in tracking other criminals in their camps.
He implored the Niger Delta youths to embrace peace, seek legitimate businesses and shun all forms of illegalities.
The CNS team also visited various Naval boat houses in Akassa, Ezetu and inspected military drills and simulation operations on counter – piracy attacks, among others.
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