Troops battle militants, kill seven in Niger Delta

Troops of Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS), Friday, killed seven militants during a gun battle in the creeks of Cross River State.

It was gathered that ODS’ troops of Sector 4 encountered the militants identified as members of the notorious Bakassi Strike Force (BSF), when they raided their hideouts at Ekpere Effiong creeks, in Akpabuyo area of the state.

The militants, who were dressed in military camouflage with charms and amulets, reportedly engaged the troops in a gunfire that lasted for about two hours.

On September 24, the militant group attacked a military location in Efut Isighi waterfront in Southern Cross River and reportedly killed two soldiers.

Confirming the development, the Deputy Media Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC), Lt. Col. Thomas Otuji, said troops deployed in Efut Isighi encountered the militants again on September 30.

He said: “Troops of Sector 4 Operation DELTA SAFE deployed at Efut Isighi at about 1:00am on 30 September 2016 engaged the Bakassi Strike Force in gun battle that lasted for more than 2 hours.

“The militants who were in military camouflage uniforms carrying charms and amulets were spotted at Ekpere Effiong creek in Akpabuyo during a special operation by own troops.

“The operation led to the killing of 7 members of Bakassi Strike force militants and recovering of several arms and ammunition.

“Items recovered include, Grenade Launcher, 7.62mm NATO belted GPMG ammunition and non-disintegrating MG links.

“It should be noted that this latest reprisal attack on own troop position was sequel to ongoing operations and destruction of several militant camps, vehicles, power bike and other household items”.

Otuji the operation that led to the killing of the militants was in line with the mandate of ODS to protect oil and gas infrastructure, prevent and deter militancy, sea robbery, crude oil theft and other forms of criminality within the Niger Delta region.

In another development, he said the Sector 1 of ODS foiled an attempt by suspected vandals to breach a pipeline belonging to the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

He identified the oil installation as the OML 30, a 16-inch trans-Forcado pipeline running from Ughelli pumping station to Focados terminal at Agbowhiame, community, Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State.

He said two suspected vandals, Thomas Okoro and Maselk Boyi, were arrested for further investigations.

He said: “On interrogation, eight other suspects mentioned by the two arrested suspects are being trailed.

“Several items including; gas cylinder tubes with accessories, hacksaw, pipe wrench and personal effects were recovered at the scene.

“Operation Delta Safe wishes to assure the general public of its determination to degrade and flush out criminal elements in our communities.

“Members of the public are therefore requested to provide timely information to Operation Delta Safe detachments and other security agencies in order to apprehend these criminals from the hideouts”. 



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