Troops of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS) have recovered a sack of assorted riffles from a speedboat belonging to suspected militants at Polako Waterfront, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The troops were said to have shot dead the driver of the boat identified simply as Mike and another unnamed suspect during the operation to retrieve the alleged weapons.
Following a lead, the troops were said to have stormed the waterside in two patrol vehicles at the weekend.
It was gathered that on arriving the waterfront, the soldiers disembarked their vehicles and took positions at strategic points.
Their actions reportedly caused panic among indigenes, traders and travellers at the waterside.
On sighting the boat, the soldiers were said to have opened fire on its occupants and in the process shot dead one of the suspects.
The boat driver reportedly jumped into the water shouting his innocence, but was hit by one of the bullets.
The troops were said to have retrieved the sack of weapons, which sources said belonged to a gang of unrepentant militants in the area.
A source who spoke in confidence said, “The indigenes of the community were surprised by the arrival of some patrol team of soldiers at Polako waterfront. When they arrived, they took positions. Upon sighting the boat with some passengers, they opened fire.
“We suspected that the soldiers acted on tip off. But we were worried that the boat driver was shot instead of arresting him. Some arrest were also made in the process and they recovered the sack of rifles.”
Other sources, however, said there was a shootout between the soldiers and the suspects, whom they described as gunrunners.
According to the version, the gang was allegedly conveying a consignment containing materials suspected to be guns to Polaku from Igbedi community, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state when the soldiers intercepted them.
But the community sources claimed that the boat driver was not a member of the gang adding that he was only hired by the hoodlums to convey them without knowing the reason for their mission.
“He initially turned them down when they approached him but he only agreed to carry them to Igbedi after they promised to pay him a handsome fare.
“It was when they were confronted at Polaku by the ODS operatives who acted on a tip-off that the boat driver got to know the dangerous nature of the movement,” the source added.
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