By Sumaila Ogbaje
Defence Headquarters says the military has arrested seven suspected sea pirates, impounded bags of smuggled rice and destroyed oil thieves’ camp in the Niger-Delta region in the last one week.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this while giving update on the Armed Forces of Nigeria operations between July 9 and 16 at a news conference Thursday in Abuja.
Enenche said that in the South-South zone of the country, the Land and Maritime components of Operation DELTA SAFE have recorded tremendous successes within the period under review.
“Troops of 3 battalion arrested seven suspected sea pirates at Snake creek in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
“The suspects who claimed to be members of Ogje-Ijoh Coastal Watch were allegedly extorting money and other valuables from the locals within the creek.
“Items recovered from them are two double barrel guns, one pump action gun, 12 live cartridges and six handsets.
According to him, Nigerian Navy Ship JUBILEE also discovered and destroyed a sea robbers camp containing 80,000 litres of illegally refined AGO at Otoyo in Eastern Obolo LGA of Akwa Ibom.
“Relatedly, troops of 146 battalion and Forward Operating Base Bonny raided militants’ hideouts at Ijawkiri in Bonny LGA of Rivers.
“During the raid, troops recovered a pistol loaded with six rounds of 9mm ammunition, 17 phones, one Walkie Talkie and speedboat mounted with a 75HP engine,” he said.
He said that in another development, Operation CALM WATERS and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE within this period, impounded 112 bags of 50 kg foreign parboiled rice.
“These operations were conducted with the combined teams of Operation SWIFT RESPONSE and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) strike force.
These operations are targeted at reducing the smuggling of contrabands into the country,” he said.
He explained that in the North-Central zone, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE conducted several clearance patrols and air operations at various locations within the zone which resulted in tremendous successes within the period under review.
“Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized 2 armed bandits who have been terrorizing innocent people of Chambe community in Logo Local Government Area of Benue.
“Following actionable Human Intelligence on the heinous activities of the armed herdsmen on July 12, the gallant troops tracked the bandits to a makeshift camp at the outskirt of Arufu village in the neighbouring Taraba.
“After a gun duel, troops neutralized 2 of them while others fled in disarray with gunshot wounds. Arms and ammunition were recovered during the operation,” he said.
He said that as part of Civil-Military Cooperation activities, Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE carried out some projects in this regard.
He said that the projects included the provision of borehole to a Fulani community at Miyangu and construction of school in Pashu community of Plateau State.
He added that Operation WHIRL STROKE also drilled three new boreholes at Guma Local Government Area of Benue.
“From the foregoing, peace is gradually returning to the troubled locations in the North-Central zone of the country, while the confidence of the local populace is being enhanced.
“Equally, farmers are gradually returning to their farms as a result of troops’ patrols in the hinterlands to deny armed herdsmen, rustlers and other criminals, freedom of action.
“ In addition, the ongoing CIMIC activities is fostering the much desired Civil-Military Cooperation between troops and the local populace,” he said.
According to him, the Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their unwavering commitment and dexterity.
“Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in curtailing the activities of the enemies of the country.
“The High Command, also reassures the general public of its commitment to securing the country.
“Members of the general public are, as always, enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt action,” he said.
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