Troops search for Niger Delta militants with fighter jets

There was panic in the creeks of Bayelsa State yesterday following sudden presence of fighter jets and surveillance aircrafts which hovered in some coastal communities in search of hideouts of members of a militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.

The military planes were sighted in some communities in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state, where attacks on pipelines and killing of soldiers occurred recently.

A resident from Ondewari, a community in the council, said the sight and sounds of the jets caused tension in the area.

He said some residents were already getting ready to seek refuge in the mangrove following fears of possible bombardments when the jets disappeared.

“We noticed the jets in the morning. They were military jets. We were afraid and most people were thinking of taking cover when suddenly they flew away. We are still afraid that they may come back. We can’t forget the Odi experience,” he said.

But the umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), immediately condemned the presence of the fighter jets in the creeks.

IYC President, Udens Eradiri, after an emergency meeting of the council, in Yenagoa, said the jets were also sighted in some parts of the state capital and Gbaramatu in Delta State.

He urged the military to apply caution in their operations and warned against the intimidation of Niger Delta residents.

Eradiri said the crisis would not be resolved by deploying fighter jets, adding that intelligence was a better strategy of dealing with activities of the militants.

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