The Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, said on Sunday that it arrested five suspected pipeline vandals and repelled a hijack attempt of a vessel by heavily armed sea pirates.
Lt.-Cdr. Thomas Otuji, spokesman of the joint military force, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa
Otuji said that the suspects were arrested between Oct. 17 and 18 near some oil wellheads at Apala, off Nana Creeks in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta.
“Troops of Operations Base 2 in Delta State, while on anti-crude oil theft patrol on Oct. 17 and 18, intercepted pipeline vandals in a large Cotonou and speed boats.
“Five suspected vandals were arrested and they confessed to their plan to vandalise the wellheads. The two boats were recovered in the crackdown.
“Similarly, troops of Operation Base 2 repelled a hijack of a vessel (MT VAJARA) by heavily armed bandits in Ramos River, around Agge area of Delta State.
“The criminals were repelled after fierce exchange of fire with our troops of the maritime component,” he said.
He recalled that the force recently responded to distress calls by some travelers who were attacked by sea pirates in Cross River and Rivers, killing the suspected pirates and rescuing the victims.
Otuji said that last week, other seven suspected pirates and militants were killed in crossfire during rescue operations while the hostages were freed unhurt.
He said that the force was committed to making the entire Niger Delta and the waterways safe as Operation Delta Safe was working tirelessly to secure the region.
He said the force had intensified patrols and raids on the criminals’ hideouts and was poised to halt the renewed violence in the region and restore peace for legitimate businesses to thrive.
The spokesperson told NAN that the successes recorded in the ongoing military operation had raised the morale and commitment of the troops.
Otuji said that the timely and credible information from the coastal communities led to the successes and commended them for cooperating with the force.
He assured that if the support was sustained, the force would soon flush out criminals from the Niger Delta.