Ten suspected members of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, have been arrested by operatives of Nigerian Army. The Commander of 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Farouk Yahaya, who paraded the suspected militants on Sunday at the Brigade headquarters in Benin, Edo state, said they were arrested at about 1:40am on Saturday, in Oporaza community, Warri South-West local government area of Delta state, following a cordon and search operation conducted in the community. He said the operation was part of efforts to check the spate of renewed attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region.
Brigadier-General Yahaya explained that there had been several cases of sabotage by suspected militants and vandals in Delta State since January 1, 2016, as well as further warnings and threats “to shut down all operations” in the sector. Items recovered from the suspects include 28 detonator cords (Detonator 33), one pistol, two empty pistol magazines, 196 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition, one round of nine-millimetre ammunition, a live cartridge and five daggers. Others are 15 hand-held radio sets, 18 phones, 203 SIM cards belonging three major network providers, five swimsuits, two headlamps, a laptop, two ipads and a camera. Besides, the army also recovered seven wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, five speedboat throttle cables, six pairs of hand gloves, a cash sum of N23,000 and a cheque book. According to Brigadier-General Yahaya, investigation would reveal the true identity of the suspects, observed that recent explosions carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers suggested that the arrested suspects may not be unconnected to the group. He said: “Within the period under review, you can see that the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed virtually all acts of criminal activities against oil and gas and they continue threatening a shutdown of the whole sector. So, most likely, they (the suspects) will be the people, who else would they be?” The Brigade Commander who dismissed speculation that the militants may have adopted the use of charms to evade arrest, said “we are not worried by voodoo. It did not stop the suspects from being arrested and others that have been arrested before now. Whatever a person wants to use, he can use it. But I know that God is always on the side of the truth. “Operations that led to these arrests and recoveries were conducted professionally, guided by our mandate, operation orders, code of conduct and rules of engagement. Our operations are strictly targeted against perpetrators of all criminal acts in our area of responsibility and not innocent citizens.” While calling on the general public to provide the army with relevant information on militants groups which would assist it to combat criminal elements in the interest of the country, Brigadier-General Yahaya disclosed that the suspects would be handed over to prosecuting security agencies at the end of preliminary investigation. In a related development, Nigerian troops averted a major pipeline vandalisation in Bayelsa state on Sunday, May 29. According to information obtained by NAIJ.com, the troops made sure of total safety in Gulobokri and Eweleso areas of Brass in the state during the incident that happened early on Sunday morning. He said: “Today, 29th May 2016 in the early hours of morning, troops of 343 Artillery Regiment of 2 Brigade, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, carried out patrol within the general area of Gulobokri and Eweleso, around Brass area in Bayelsa State.”
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