From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Troops of Operation Delta Safe (ODS) have busted a local arms manufacturing hideout in the Niger Delta region.
In the raid in which the suspects engaged the troops in a gun duel, three principal suspects were arrested and had since provided useful information on the whereabouts of the main suspect.
Investigations revealed that following intelligence reports on a local arms manufacturing base in Arhavwarien Kingdom, Ughelli South of Delta State, Commander of ODS, Rear Admiral Apochi Ogabu Suleiman, directed a covert operation to identify the people behind the arms manufacturing.
According to sources intelligence officers placed orders for guns and while the suspects were manufacturing them, the troops swooped on them.
Admiral Suleiman, in a press briefing at the Command Headquarters, said the operation was in line with the mandate of the ODS to protect oil and gas infrastructure ,deter and prevent sea robbery, crude oil theft, militancy and other forms of criminalities in the Niger Delta region.
“ Our troops over the weekend conducted a successful raid operation on identified local manufacturing hideout in Arhavwarien Kingdom of Ughelli South in Delta State, During the operation, three principal suspects were apprehended following a shootout with the suspects. They are Mr Isiyaka Uchuko, Mr Ese James and Mr Elvis Phillips. Items recovered from them include 13 short barrel local made guns, five double barrel local made guns 10 local made pistols 3 live cartridges and one empty cartridge and two rounds of 7.62 millimetre special ammunition” He said.
Also speaking the Land Component Commander, Col. Moses Kolo Gara, said following a tip-off, troops also arrested one 50-year-old Matthew Okafor in connection with the buying and selling of international oil company wellhead.
He also disclosed that troops arrested a wanted oil bunkering kingpin, 42-years-old Mr Nkwe Godspower and recovered 10 cheque booklets belonging to different banks, an international passport and the sum of N1 million.
In an interview, Admiral Suleiman, who reviewed the success of ODS since he took over the Command said incidence of pipeline and oil installation bombing are no longer common place as surveillance and patrol has been intensified.