Troops rescue expatriates kidnapped on ships in Rivers



Military operatives have rescued five expatriates abducted five months ago on two vessels by suspected militants in Rivers State.

The expatriates were on board the MT RIO MITONG and MT DJIBLOHO vessels when they were kidnapped by a militant group in Yellow Island, Rivers.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Defence Headquarters said it acted on credible intelligence that led to the rescue operation.

“Acting on credible intelligence, a joint team from Forward Operating Base Bonny, Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER and troops of 146 Battalion swiftly combed the creeks in search of the kidnapped victims.

“After a thorough search and rescue operation, the gallant troops raided four identified sea pirates/militants hideout at Ibiakafemo, Idinkiri, Tombie and Ogboma. The identified camps were subsequently destroyed to deny the pirates freedom of action.

“Consequently, in the early hours of October 6, 2020, the pirates/militants compelled by the ongoing operation surrendered to the gallant troops and handed over the five kidnapped foreign expatriates at Iwofe Waterfront,” the statement read.

According to the military, the expatriates — three Russians, one Ukranian and one Equatorial Guinean — are presently at the NNS Pathfinder medical centre in Port Harcourt receiving attention.

The military said the joint team of troops also intercepted two large wooden boats loaded with an estimated 350,000 litres of suspected stolen illegally-refined automative gas oil (AGO), and about 10,000 litres of crude oil.

The stolen petroleum products, the military added, have been moved to the base.