From Tony Osauzo, Benin
THE 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army said it has arrested 10 suspected members of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), as part of efforts to check the spate of renewed attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region.
The Brigade Commander, Brigadier-General Farouk Yahaya, who paraded the suspects yesterday, said they were arrested at about 1:40am on Saturday, in Oporaza community, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
He explained that there had been several cases of sabotage by suspected militants and vandals in the State since January 1, 2016, as well as warnings and threats “to shut down all operations” in the sector.
He said several items including 28 detonator cords (also known as 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 were recovered from the suspects.
Others were 15 handheld radio sets, 18 phones, 203 SIM cards, belonging to three major network providers, five swimsuits, two headlamps, a laptop, two ipads and a camera.
The Army also recovered seven wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, five speedboat throttle cables, six pairs of hand gloves, a sum of N23,000 and a cheque book.
Yahaya who said investigation would reveal the true identity of the suspects, observed that recent explosions carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers suggested that the arrested may not be unconnected to the group.
“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, suspects may be members who else would they be?
He dismissed speculation that the militants may have adopted the use of charms to evade arrest.