- Following the combat against militancy in the Niger Delta, some troops in the Nigerian army has carried out raids in some communities
- After the raid, five suspects were arrested and some arms were also recovered from their homes
- The Nigerian army also said the residence of a suspected militant leader was raided in the early hours of the morning
The Nigerian army said its troops of 222 battalion, 4 brigade Nigerian army involved in the field training exercise of operation crocodile smile has carried out raids and patrols in some communities in Delta state and arrested five militants.
In a statement signed by Sani Usman, the acting director army public relations, it read that the troops carried out patrols through Edje-Ewu-Opere waterside and Araya communities in Ughelli South and Isoko South local government areas of Delta state.
“As part of the training programme, the exercising unit would continue to dominate the general area with patrols and raids of reported or suspected hideouts of criminals.
“Reconnaissance is also ongoing to detect the site of economic sabotage on NPDC/shoreline pipeline along Ogor-Oteri swamps in Ughelli South and Ughelli North LGAs by some criminals.
“Following intelligence report, a robust patrol team was dispatched to raid suspected criminal hideouts at Ehweru community in Ughelli North LGA this morning.
“The team was able to track down and arrested hoodlums known for terrorising commuters plying the East-West road between Ughelli to Patani,” the statement read in parts.
The arrested five suspects include Messrs Oruno Egbede, Atiyoyo Rewemuesere, Peter Kehinde, Wilson Godbless and Friday Odede. Also recovered from the suspects were one locally made gun, one dagger and a cutlass.
However, another patrol team raided the residence of Mr. Gabriel Ogbudje, a supposedly ex-militant leader who is now leader of the otugas fire force, a new militant group in the Niger Delta.
According to the statement, Mr Gabriel who is still at large “is suspected to be responsible for the recent acts of economic sabotage perpetrated at Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and shoreline major delivery trunk line within Ogor-oteri communities on 29th August 2016.”
However, the four people who were found at his residence were invited for questioning, while efforts are ongoing to track down the wanted suspect.
They include Vincent Ekek, Henry Koko, Racheal Abbah and Amaratefa Odada.
The Nigerian army pledged that the troops will continue to maintain vigilance, carry out raids and patrols as part of the training exercise in the general area as part of their routine activities to improve proficiency and professionalism.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has taken drastic measures in a bid to curb “the renewed economic sabotage” going on in the Niger Delta region.
The federal government has commenced mobilization of the military and task forces to the oil-rich region.
According to the president, the decision became imperative in order to halt the national wastage taking place in the area, especially pipeline vandalism and kidnapping of people for ransom.