Ten of the dreaded suspected Niger Delta Avengers have been arrested, Nigeria Army claimed on Sunday. This even following earlier statement released by the Army headquarters that the troop averted more pipelines bombing by the vandals this morning.
The Commander, 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin City, Farouk Yahaya, while addressing journalists said the suspects were arrested during a cordon and search exercise conducted in Oporozoa community and its environs in Delta State.
Niger Delta Avengers, NDA had claimed responsibility for the destruction of oil and gas installations in the region in recent times.
The suspects were arrested in Oporaza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, following a cordon and search operation conducted in the community.
Mr. Yahaya, a Brigadier General, said the arrested suspects may have links with the Niger Delta Avengers. He said guns, ammunition and other equipment were recovered from them.
He said the operation was conducted professionally in line with the code of conduct and rules of engagement of the Nigerian Army.
The Army also reaffirmed its commitment to tackling pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Other Items recovered from the suspects to include 28 detonator cords (also known Detonator 33), one pistol, two empty pistol magazines, 196 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition, one round of nine-millimetre ammunition, a live cartridge and five daggers.
Also recovered were 15 handheld radio sets, 18 phones, 203 SIM cards of three major network providers, five swimsuits, two headlamps, a laptop, two ipads, a camera, seven wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, five speedboat throttle cables, six pairs of hand gloves, N23,000 cash and a cheque book, LIB reported
The recent activities of the militants has been blamed for the worsening power situation in the country as pipelines which transport gas to power generating stations were blown up.
Their activities also led to a reduction in Nigeria’s oil production, leading to less money available for all tiers of government in a period of economic downturn.
Meanwhile, residents of the area had decried the invasion of the community since Saturday and raised alarm over alleged intimidation of innocent residents.
A resident, who simply identified himself as Raphael, said the suspects arrested were innocent people who could not run away fast enough. He said the soldiers arrested them and labelled them members of the Niger Delta Avengers while the other residents are currently taking refuge in the bush.