By E m m a n u e l Â A d d e h Â i n Â Ye n a g o a
it was continuing its operations in Ajakpa, Ese-Odo local council, Ondo State, to rout militants who had been using the area as a base to launch attacks in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States.
Yesterdayâ€™s update followed the killing earlier in the week, of wanted Ossy Ibori and several of his men during a violent encounter with soldiers attached to the Joint Taskforce, Operation Delta Safe, in the creeks of Ese-Odo.
Ibori, 40, and his gang, the military said, were responsible for the abduction of some staff and students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla , Epe, the kidnap of three school girls at Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu , the abduction of four Landlords in Isheri and the forcible seizure of the Oniba of Ibaland, Oba Goriola Oseni.
The gang also carried out several bank robberies in Lagos and Ogun, killed an army captain and two policemen in Ikorodu and murdered a pregnant woman and his baby during an operation in Festac, Lagos State.
â€œMeanwhile, arrests were made and some quantities of items of munitions were recovered. It was believed that remaining militants fled when their leader was killed in action.
â€œBut we will continue to maintain our presence in the general area in order to deter and apprehend all unrepentant criminals terrorising the peace loving people of the com- munitiesâ€, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, Commander of OPDS, told journalists at a media briefing in Yenagoa, the JTF headquarters yesterday.
He also announced the reopening of the waterways in the area which was blocked by the militants, and vowed to go after the remaining followers of the late Ibori.
â€œOur troops have also success- fully unblocked Ajakpa – Bolowo waterways which had been blocked by Ossy Ibori’s gang for the past 4 months.
It is now cleared and opened for free flow of water navigation by the general publicâ€, Rear Admiral Suleiman said.
Against the earlier reported death of one soldier during the operation, the Commander disclosed that the actual number could not yet be ascertained, stressing that the militants opened fire on his men , some of whom were still receiving treatment in military hospitals.
He added, â€œI condole with the families of our fallen heroes, who paid the supreme price in the course of maintaining peace and security in this operation. They were dedicated, gallant, laden with vigour and determination to protect their fatherland. I assure you that their sacrifice will never be in vainâ€
Flanked by commanders of the Maritime, Land components of the taskforce, the police, officials of the Department of State Services and the Prisons Service, the Commander acknowledged that many of the militants had fled, but added that the military was going after them.