Military denies invasion of Bayelsa community, confirms killing of officers

The Military Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), has denied invasion and razing of houses at Letugbene Community in Ekeremor Council Area of Bayelsa State.

It was reported that the military had invaded the coastal community on Monday evening for reprisals, while searching for killers of four soldiers and two civilians by suspected pirates.

Consequently, no fewer than four houses and two suspected pirate camps were reportedly razed in the community on the Atlantic shores by troops, leaving the residents in disarray.

But in a statement issued by OPDS Spokesman, Major Victor Olukoya, it noted that contrary to reports, men of OPDS did not invade any community in Ekeremor Council as a result of the incident.

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He said the military was an organised and disciplined force and all its operations were guided by codes of conduct and rules of engagement and as such, could be seen to behave in the manner described in the reports.

While confirming the killing of the four soldiers, Olukoya said unknown gunmen ambushed the officers about 6pm on Sunday.

“Operation Delta Safe, whose mandate is to protect oil and gas infrastructure, prevent militancy, sea robbery, crude oil theft and other forms of criminality within the area that could impact negatively on economic activities in the Niger Delta, wishes to inform the public of an unfortunate incident.

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“While carrying out their routine duty within its area of responsibility on Sunday, February 16, 2020 about 6pm, troops were ambushed by unknown gunmen and four soldiers were killed.

“However, investigation is ongoing to ascertain the persons or groups behind the attack. It is important to state that contrary to an online report, men of OPDS did not invade any community in Ekeremor Council of Bayelsa State as a result of the incident,” he said.

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He continued, “The Commander, OPDS along with Commander, 16 Brigade and Commander, Sector 2 during a visit to Letugene, Beneside, Ogbotobo and Tunu, among other communities, observed that the residents were going about their normal businesses without hindrance.

“He, therefore, urged the people to remain law abiding, as the command will fish out perpetrators of the dastardly act and ensure a secure environment for all.”

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