The Niger Delta Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, on Thursday said its troops swooped on hideouts used by suspected kidnappers in Bayelsa coastal communities.
According to a statement from Lt. Col Mustapha Anka, Media Coordinator of the JTF, the operation was ordered by JTF Commander, Maj. Gen Emmanuel Atewe, following rising insecurity in waterways in the state.
The statement said the troops flushed out and dislodged the kidnappers who engaged the troops in shoot out from their hideouts with bullet wounds.
Anka explained that the operation by Operation Pulo Shield’s anti-illegal bunkering squad was led by Commanding Officer OF 5 Battalion, Lt. Col. Shu’aibu Nuhu, in collaboration with the Air Component of the task force.
“The Task Force Stormed a Camp at Meibegbemo located at Zobia of Faropo community of Southern Ijaw LGA dislodging the camp, recovering arms and ammunition before setting it ablaze.
“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, 7 pieces 65hp engine, 12 pieces of mattress, two generating sets, 4 smoke grenade and 5 cell phones with 15 SIM cards of various phone operators.
“Also food stuff, refrigerators, freezers and video camera with microphone belonging to African World Web Television presumed to belong to a victim of the criminals were recovered,” Anka stated.
The statement further said that occupants of the destroyed camp were responsible for pirate attacks on vessels, boats and ferries plying through the Forupa channel, while their kidnapped victims were kept in the camp.
Anka said that the operation had since restored peace and normalcy to the creeks.
“The camp made the waterways of the Niger Delta unsafe for both the oil workers, marine operators and the general public.
“It was based on this development that the JTF Operation code named OPERATION GRAND SLAM was lunched to flush out the criminals and restore normalcy in the waterways,” the statement read.