The Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of four high profile militants and dismantling of militant camps from the nine states of the Niger Delta region that had resisted arrest and engaged in gun battle with the troops of the Joint Military Task Force during security operations.
Among renegade militant neutalised by the troops, according to the Nigerian Army, include Issy Ibori(Ondo), Commander Augustine Gbangbanran (Delta), Oyawerikumor also known as Kariowei (Bayelsa) and Leader of the Bakassi Strike Force also known as GI.
The Nigerian Army, through the Acting Director of Defense Information, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Brig. General John Agim and the Deputy Commandant of Operation Delta Safe, Brig. General, K. O. Aligbe during a media briefing in Yenagoa, said though the security operations in the Niger Delta region were launched in different forms since 2016 till date, the troops of the Niger Delta Task Force code named Operation Restore Hope also recovered 1,389 heavy arms and 20,352 items of ammunition.
Brig. Agim said the militants neutralised with camps destroyed were major threats to the peace of the region and national security.
Agim stated that the security operations and anti-oil theft operations in the region were part of the directives of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakan and meeting the strategic expectations for the establishment of the Operation Delta Safe.
According to him: “some of the achievements made include enhanced safety of lives, rise in crude oil production, recovery of arms and ammunition, seizure and impoundment, destruction of illegal refineries and its ancillaries and arrest of suspects.
“On the Nigerian Army effort to degrade capacity of criminals involved in crude oil theft and its associated crimes, the military troops in the Niger Delta region had seized and impounded 24 vessels,191 barges, 234 outboard engines and 476 other types of passenger boats.
“Additionally, the force has seized 105 tanker trucks, 228 other vehicles and 610 pumping machines as well as 76 Generator sets and 5,842 other items used in facilitating illegalities.
“Suffice to state that part of the force efforts to deny criminals any freedom of action involves the destruction of their safe havens and the items used in perpetrating illegalities. The force has in this process destroyed 1,437 illegal refineries, 795 wooden cargo boats, 3,872 metal surface thanks and 1,019 plastic tanks, 13,129 drums and 13,343 Jerry cans. ”
On the prosecution of suspected criminals in the region, the Deputy Commandant of OPS, Brig. General K. O. Aligned said though the military is saddled with the duty to arrest suspects, the prosecution agencies are to arraign them in court, ” we had over 66 cases prosecuted and 48 were successful and two cases were lost in court. “