Arrest 44 pro-Biafra loyalists during initiation in Bayelsa
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Troops fighting militancy and other criminalities in the Niger Delta, yesterday said they had discovered at least 23 human skulls and a full human skeleton in some of the shrines operated by militants in the Niger Delta.
The soldiers under the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), disclosed that they also apprehended 44 members of the outlawed pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), during an attempt to establish a branch of the organisation in Bayelsa State.
Specifically, the acting Commander of the OPDS, Brigadier General Kevin Aligbe, in a statement personally signed by him, noted that the human skulls and skeletons were found in four shrines in Southern Cross River.
The leadership of the task force headquartered in Bayelsa, noted that most of the raids were carried out in Ikot Ene Idem, Abakpa and Ikang Inam in Bakassi and Akpabuyo Local Government Areas of Cross River State.
It noted that soldiers also found several decomposing human parts in some of the militant camps in the area, adding that the operation was in fulfillment of OPDS’ mandate to rid the Niger Delta region of all criminalities, crude oil theft, sea robbery and protection of oil and gas infrastructure.
“On October 26, 2016 troops of Sector 4 Operation Delta Safe in Southern Cross River State, acting on a tip off, carried out a raid in Ikot Ene Idem, Abakpa and Ikang Inam in Bakassi and Akpabuyo Local Government Areas of Cross River State.
“During the cordon and search operations, troops discovered four militant shrines with 23 human skulls in various stages of decomposition, a complete human skeleton and several other human body parts.
“The shrines were destroyed as troops continue the search for the perpetrators of these heinous acts against humanity,” the JTF said.
The special security outfit noted that with the raid on the camps, it had effectively put an end to the activities of militants in Southern Cross River State.
“ With the clearance of these shrines, the Bakassi Strike Force has effectively been smoked out from the area they used to hold sway. It should be noted that the senseless killing of humans for ritual purposes is sacrilegious and will not be tolerated in any form,” it said.
According to the JTF, troops also arrested two suspects while on patrol at Idebe Ifak Anam, Ikot Okon Edem and Abakpa of Bakassi Local Government Area in Cross River State, who were found to be agents of BSF militants who act as spies for them.
On the arrest of the Biafra loyalists in Bayelsa State, the security operatives stated that the members of the group were being initiated when they were rounded up.
“Troops of Sector 2, Operation Delta Safe in Bayelsa State acting on intelligence, trailed a group of people which led to the arrest of 44 members of the proscribed IPOB.
“They were apprehended at Lakeview Club along Mabinton Estate, Okaka road, Bayelsa State. This group was planning to establish Bayelsa State chapter of the banned IPOB and disrupt public peace within the Joint Operations. Area of the Operation Delta Safe.
“They were duly arrested and have been handed over to relevant authorities for further investigations. The unity of Nigeria is non–negotiable and it is sacrosanct. Hence, any unlawful gathering that will cause mayhem, threaten the unity and sovereignty of the country will not be condoned,” the commander said.
In addition, the JTF, OPDS, disclosed that troops of Sector 3, in Rivers State, on October 23, 2016, received a distress call of an attack from Finima in Bonny.
It said some cult members using AK 47 riffles to terrorise members of the community were arrested.
“The suspected kingpin popularly referred to as Eagle Face, dived into the river on sighting troops. Two of the suspected cult members were arrested; one locally made pistol, one machete and two handsets were recovered.
“The body of the suspected kingpin was later seen floating in the creeks by locals who recovered and buried the corpse at Bonny river bank. Effort is ongoing to apprehend other members of the group,” said the troops.