The Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, ODS, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, has disclosed that his unit killed two militants suspected to be members of the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers, while three others were arrested.
According to a Daily Post report, the militants were alleged to have killed four soldiers on August 8, 2016 at a military check point in Bayelsa State.
The gunmen, who dressed in mourning outfit had opened fire on the ODS detachment, killing the soldiers, after which they made away with their arms, ammunition and military gunboat.
The arrested suspects were paraded at the headquarters of the ODS at Igbogene, in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on Tuesday.
Speaking on the incident, Okojie disclosed that the suspects were discovered at their hideout in Saraba Creek, near Okiama community, Okigbene in Southern Ijaw Local Government of the state.
Okojie said on getting to the camp, a gun duel ensued between the soldiers and the militants; this he said, led to the death of two suspects and the arrest of three others.
The ODS Commander said the troops recovered a large cache of arms, ammunition and a military gunboat seized from the deceased soldiers.
He further listed other items recovered from the militants to include, nine AK 47 rifles, an FN rifle, four HK 21 MGs, one G3 MG, three GPMGs, 20 AK 47 magazines, two G3 magazines, one FN magazine, one container of gunpowder, the gunboat seized from the murdered soldiers and military accoutrements.
Others include, 1,145 rounds of 7.62mm metal link, 2, 485 rounds of 7.62mm ball cartons, 370 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and 1,356 rounds of 7.62mm NATO.
According to Okojie, “The sources of acquiring illicit wealth is being degraded, hence the resort to attacking our locations. You will recall that on Monday, August 8, 2016, at about 0930hours, a group suspected to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers, disguised as mourners, attacked and killed four of our soldiers at their duty post in Nembe.
“Three suspects were arrested and a large quantity of arms, ammunition and the gunboat that was taken from Nembe on August 8,2016 were recovered.
“Let me use this opportunity to reiterate the fact that no criminal would go free, wherever they are. Be rest assured we will get them and ensure they face justice. Let me reaffirm the commitment of the JTF, Operation Delta Safe, of its resolve to ensure peace and economic stability in the region.”
One of suspects paraded, Austin Dikro, said the group was ambushed while returning from an operation.
Dikro, an indigene of Brass Local Government revealed that they opted for the route of the military check point because the one they wanted to use initially had dried up, making it difficult for their speedboat to float.
He also stated that they disguised as mourners just before approaching the military blockade and opened fire on the troops on the orders of their deceased leader.