Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta yesterday said they had burst a kidnap ring and rescued two victims captured by the hoodlums.
The troops noted that they conducted successful raids on the camps of some sea robbersÂ at Oluwasiri in Brass Local Government and Agbidama creeks in Ekeremor, Bayelsa State.
A haul of weapons recovered by the soldiers during the operation, the JTF Commander, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman said, included One HK 21E rifle, one Rocket Propelled gun launcher and four AK 47 rifles.
Others were: Three pistols, 61 pieces of 12.7/108mm ammo, five empty rifle magazines, one empty pistol magazine, 36 pieces of 7.62mm ammo, 15 pieces of 9mm ammo, among other items.
Speaking with journalists at the headquarters of Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) in Igbogene, Yenagoa,Â Suleiman said during the gun duel that followed, one of the victims was injured.
â€œDuring the operations in Oluwasiri particularly, the troops rescued 2 kidnapped victims. One of the victims sustained gunshot injury during the crossfire. He is currently receiving medical attention in one of our facility in Port Harcourt,â€ he said.
He vowed to keep up the pressure on criminals in the region, stressing that the mandate of the special security outfit would be carried out to the letter.
He said the kidnappers abandoned their camps â€œdue to the superior firepower of the troops.â€
One of the freed victims, Sulaiman Yinusa, told journalists that he was kidnapped at Abonema in Rivers while returning from a business trip from Aba, adding that he was held hostage at the militantsâ€™ camp in Bayelsa for 50 days.
â€œI remain eternally grateful to God for my rescue by the joint military force, it was Godâ€™s making. They had killed many hostages before the two of us were freed, especially those that their relations could not pay the ransom demanded.
â€œThey had demanded N10 million and my people cannot even raise N1 million, they negotiated ransom down to N100,000, but my people could not raise the money.
â€œThey told me that I will be killed today,Wednesday, but God intervened, I thank Him, and I am so proud of Nigerian military, â€ Yinusa said.
Apochi also said that the military would continue with its clearance operation in Southern Ondo to rid the area of criminals.
â€œWe were vindicated when the Ondo State Governor visited the creeks in Southern Ondo following reports that troops had sacked residents and destroyed houses.
â€œIt was evident that no houses were torched as erroneously reported and that the governor was able to see things for himself. We are after the criminals and we are raiding their hideouts,â€ he said.