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Pirates kill two soldiers as troops destroy 13 refineries

Hoodlums, suspected to be sea robbers, have killed two soldiers and injured three others in a boundary area between Bayelsa and Rivers states.

The soldiers were said to be attached to the troops of the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, with headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

It was learnt that the incident, which took place on Wednesday, occurred around Ijawkiri General area, a border community between Kalabari in Rivers and Nembe in Bayelsa.

The Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Major Abubakar Abdullahi, confirmed the attack in a statement on Thursday.

Abdullahi said, ‘’Sadly, our troops deployed in Creek 6 Houseboat, Cawthorne Channel, while responding to a distress call of sea robbers attack around the Ijawkiri General area, engaged heavily armed sea robbers.

‘’Unfortunately, two gallant soldiers exhibited the highest level of patriotism by paying the supreme price, while three others sustained gunshot injuries.

‘’Effort is ongoing by the JTF to track and apprehend the criminals.’’

The coordinator also said that the troops, in continuation of their drive to accomplish their mandate in the region, uncovered and destroyed 13 illegal refineries in the Iyalama Adama area of Rivers.

He, however, said no arrest was made during the destruction of the refineries.

Meanwhile, an operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, attached to the Bayelsa State Command, and a suspected armed robber, were killed in a gun battle.

It was learnt that the incident took place along Kolo Creek, in the Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

It was learnt that a gang of suspected armed robbers operating in the area had lay in ambush for a patrol van of the NSCDC operatives.

The armed robbers reportedly lay in ambush for the civil defence officers after allegedly attacking a police checkpoint along the road.

A security source claimed that the suspected robbers caught the policemen off guard and succeeded in forcing them to surrender their weapons around 12pm on Wednesday.

The source said the robbers made away with three Ak47 rifles and several rounds of ammunition belonging to the police.

He said, “When they escaped from the scene, they sighted a security patrol van manned by operatives of the NSCDC and hid in a bush. When the van approached, they opened fire on it, killing one of the operatives.

‘’But the operatives fired back and killed one of the armed robbers; others, however, escaped.”

It was gathered that the remains of the armed robber and his pump action rifle, were recovered by the operatives and taken to the NSCDC headquarters in Yenagoa.

They reportedly handed them over to the state Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu.

When contacted, Agu confirmed that armed robbers lay in ambush for a patrol van of the corps and killed an operative.

He, however, praised his men for fighting back and overpowering the robbers which resulted in the killing of one of the robbers.

Agu said he was not aware of the attack on the police checkpoint, noting that he had handed over the rifle and the corpse of the robber to the police.

Reacting to the development, spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed that a police patrol team was attacked by the gunmen.


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