From Ben Dunno, Warri
The Joint Military Task Force operating within Sapele/Oghara/Koko axis under Delta Central coverage area, have paraded twenty-one (21) suspected criminals, including three (3) members of a sea pirates cartel that were responsible for the killing of soldiers in August 2015 along Nembe Waterways in Bayelsa state.
The ongoing operations of the Joint Task Force, made up of Army, Navy, DSS, NSCDC and local vigilante groups, set up to fish out criminals from their hideouts in Sapele and its environs, which commenced since last week, had witnessed invasions and destructions of many black spots within the coverage area.
Operations of the Military JTF led by Commanding Officer (R) 19 Battalion, Koko, Major J Mohammed, was reportedly backed by military hierarchy, aftermath the recent killing of a soldier and policeman by unknown gunmen at a checkpoint in Oton, a suburb of Sapele in Sapele Council area.
Parading the 21 suspects at the Effurun barracks headquarters of Sector 1 Commnd, ‘Operation Delta Safe’, the CO (R) 19 Battalion, Major J Mohammed, said the suspects, majorly members of notorious syndicate groups, were all arrested at different hideout locations in Sapele and its environs.
He identified most of them as cultists, kidnappers, armed robbers, fraudsters and members of dreaded militants group led by one Malik, said to be among the sea pirate gang that shot four (4) soldiers and a policeman dead at a military checkpoint in 2015 along Nembe waterways, Bayelsa state.
It was disclosed that Malik and his gang had surrendered the three (3) AK 47 they took from the deceased soldiers to the camp of the Ex-militant warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, AkA Tompolo, in exchange for the amnesty that was extended to them for surrendering their weapons.
In another operation where three (3) locally made cut to size guns were recovered, it was revealed that the gang hid the gun inside their roof and was later recovered after interrogation. The female accomplice arrested with them however denied knowledge of knowing that they were criminals.
Other criminals paraded were fraudsters popularly known as yahoo, yahoo boys, cultists who had been engaged in fierce supremacy war that had made Sapele and its environs unpeaceful in recent times and militants who were responsible for attacks on oil installations and military personnel in the area.
Items recovered include; three (3) cut to size locally made guns and cartridges, large cash sums, bags of cannabis sativa, otherwise known as indian hemp, laptops, telephones and sim cards as well as charms.