Soldiers of the 343 Artillery Regiment of 2 Brigade, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army yesterday engaged militants in the Niger Delta region of the country in fierce gun duel at Gulobokri and Eweleso communities, around Brass area of Bayelsa State.
This led to the killing of some of the militants, which averted their attack on an oil pipeline in the two communities.
Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, who disclosed this in a statement, said another patrol team of the same unit in Perigbene House Boat, Bayelsa State encountered three speedboats suspected to be carrying militants about to attack another critical infrastructure in the area.
However, the casualty on the side of the militants could not be ascertained as it was raining heavily and the raging storm could not allow troops to pursue the suspected militants.
He said, “During the exercise, the patrol team had an encounter with some armed militants in two speedboats with intent to blow up Nigerian Agip Oil Company pipeline at Gulobokri. The suspected vandals opened fire on the patrol team.
“The troops responded with overwhelming superior firepower and as a result, the suspected criminals sped off from the area with many of them sustaining gunshot wounds. No casualty was recorded by the patrol team.
“Unfortunately, a personnel of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, attached to the team sustained gunshot wound. He has since been evacuated and he is in stable condition.
“A mop up operation has been organized for those militants that escaped with gunshot wounds as they may be receiving treatment in the neighbouring communities. With this development, troops would continue to intensify patrol in the general area to avert further vandalism or attacks in the area.”
In a separate development, 10 suspected members of Niger Delta Avengers allegedly involved in the current attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, were paraded, yesterday, in Benin City, Edo State, alongside their arms and ammunition by the Commander, 4th Brigade, Nigeria Army, Benin City, Brig-General F. Yahaya.
The suspects, according to the Brigade Commander, were arrested in Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. Some of the weapons recovered from them included pistol and magazines, live cartridges, explosive devices, ipads, laptops, combat boot, dagger, cable wire, speed boat throttle cable, among others.
Meanwhile, ex-militant leader, Government Ekpempuolo, alias Tompolo, yesterday, insisted he didn’t know the Niger Delta Avengers and urged the militant group to stop blowing up oil facilities and embrace dialogue, if it was truly fighting for Niger Deltans.
Tompolo, in a statement, said, “I wish to appeal to you (Niger Delta Avengers) once again to stop the bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta and embrace dialogue with the Federal Government, as the government is ready to hear you out on whatever issues you wish to discuss with it.
“You guys know that I do not know you and how to reach you, except through the mass media. If truly, as you guys claimed, that you are fighting for the well-being of the people of the Niger Delta, then you must adhere to this appeal, otherwise, the world will label you as criminals.”
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