The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating in the Niger Delta has disclosed that troops under its ‘Operation Grand Slam’ have set ablaze a pirates’ camp at Meibegbemo, near Lobia and Furopa communities in the creeks of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Armed youth, who occupied the camp, are said to be responsible for robbery attacks on vessels, passenger boats and ferries plying the Furopa channel, while their kidnapped victims were kept in the camp.
The JTF’s joint media co-ordinator, Lieutenant Colonel Mustapha Anka, pointed out in Yenagoa on Thursday that the hoodlums also extend their criminal activities to neighbouring communities of Azuzama and Ekeni in Ekeremor area of the state.
While informing that the criminals cash in on the difficult terrain in the region to perpetuate crimes in the waterways, Anka noted that the camp was set ablaze after it was dislodged by the anti illegal-bunkering squad of the security outfit, which recovered arms and ammunition from them.
According to him, the camp operators are believed to have perpetrated the recent kidnappings and attacks on the Bayelsa waterways, which culminated in the death of some of their victims.
His words: “During a shootout, miscreants escaped to the creeks with several gunshot wounds sustained during the exchange of fire. No arrest was made but caches of arms and ammunition were recovered.
“Other items include six fiber boats with 75hp bow-out engine mounted on them, seven pieces 65hp engine, 12 pieces of mattress, two generating sets, four smoke grenade and five cell phones with 15 sim cards belonging to different communication companies, were recovered.
Also recovered from the hoodlums are foodstuff, refrigerators, freezers and video camera with microphone belonging to African World Web Television presumed to belong to one of their victims.