…Army confirms 1 dead, 2 injured
From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Gunmen under the aegis of Bakassi militants yesterday attacked soldiers deployed to man the axis, killing five in the process.
A couple of weeks ago, the Chief of Army Staff launched Operation Crocodile Smile in Calabar and deployed hundreds of soldiers from the 13 Amphibious Brigade to Bakassi and Akpabuyo to flush out militants from the local government areas of the state.
Sunday Sun gathered that the militants in the early hours of yesterday attacked the soldiers stationed at one of ‘’their’’ bases at Esighi axis in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The militants who were allegedly led by self-styled Gen Simply Benjamin (G1), who has been declared wanted by the security operatives, attacked the soldiers at about1:00am and killed five of them.
It was learnt that that militants took the soldiers by surprise as they struck when the military men were said to be asleep.
An eyewitness, who simply identified himself as Okon P, said, “the militants came in from the creeks around the bushy town of Esighi about 1:00am and engaged the soldiers in gun battle before retreating.
‘’For quite some time now, the soldiers had taken over the home of their leader and suddenly that night we heard heavy gun shots for more than three hours and at the end of it, I can authoritatively tell you that five soldiers were killed.”
Continuing, Okon said, “The home of their leader,GI is in the bush that leads to the creeks of the Bakassi waterways. The militants have also been occupying most of the houses around the area for a while now but fled when security operatives arrested some of their leaders including G2 and G3. The leader, G1 whose house has been taken over by soldiers, is on the run.”
In a text message, the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said only one soldier was killed by the hoodlums.
He said, “Today, in the early hours of the morning, suspected militants led by the wanted criminal, Benjamin Simply (AKA G1) leader of the Bakassi Strike Force, in several speed boats attacked troops deployed at Efut Esighi waterfront in Bakassi LGA of Cross River State.
“During the attack, a soldier was killed in action, while 2 soldiers were missing in action. They also burnt a buffalo pickup vehicle. The troops also killed 2 of the attackers while the rest escaped with gunshot wounds.
“However, the reinforcement sent has found the missing soldiers. In addition, the troops’ location has been reinforced with more gunboats and air component. The clearance and pursuit operation is on-going.
“We would like to assure the public that this singular act would not deter us from the discharge of our duties, therefore, the perpetrators of this dastardly act would be found and brought to justice.”