27 April 2013, Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Pulo Shield yesterday said its operatives have destroyed seven hideouts used by kidnappers and sea pirates along the waterways of Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State.
According to the JTF, the renewed attack on suspected hideouts of the hoodlums, blamed for the recent upsurge in crimes in the creeks and waters of the state, code named Operation ‘Clean Up the Waterways’ commenced at about 11.00 pm Tuesday at Azuzuama.
Media Coordinator of the JTF, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu, yesterday in Yenagoa said the operation is aimed at riding the state of kidnappers and sea pirates who have been terrorizing law abiding citizens of the state.
He said the operation would be sustained until the criminal elements are apprehended and brought to book.
“In ensuring the security of the good people of Niger Delta whose socio economic lives is dependent mainly on the waterways and creeks in the region, the Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield, has successfully scuttled 7 hide outs used by kidnappers and sea robbers in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in a recent operation in the area.
“Following findings from series of thorough surveillance and investigations carried out by our operatives on recent criminal activities of kidnappers and sea robbers in the waterways and creeks along the Delta-Bayelsa axis of the Niger Delta, the Joint Task Force uncovered a number of hideouts that has served for hibernation to these criminals.
“These criminals have over time harassed and intimidated not only the inhabitants of these communities but also those engaged in commercial activities in the waterways.
“The nefarious activities of these criminals have therefore to a large extent detrimentally impacted on the socio-economic activities of the people in the affected areas and the generality of users of the water ways. Consequently, we commenced a joint operation to rid the water ways and creeks of all criminal hide outs to restore normalcy.
“The operation, code named OPERATION CLEAN UP THE WATER WAYS commenced at about 11.00 pm on Tuesday in Azuzuama which has served as a safe haven for notorious Kidnappers and Sea robbers and have been used as a platform for launching attacks on innocent victims.
“Identified criminal hideouts used for keeping kidnapped victims in Lobia 1, Lobia 2 and Okugbe in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area were also scuttled during the operation. Maritime platforms, comprising 3 Fibre boats and 2 sophisticated sea-going boats used by the criminals from their hideouts were scuttled.
“Items including 1 Ak 47 riffle magazine loaded with 34 live rounds of 7.62mm, yards of Army camouflage and sewn uniforms, 1 cartridge belt, wraps of marijuana, 2 Thuraya phones, Radio intercom communication set and 109 Honduran Lempira (foreign currency notes) were recovered from the hide outs.
“Measures are currently underway to deploy troops in Azuzuama to maintain security presence in the area. We again urge all law abiding citizens to cooperate with the JTF in ensuring that our waterways are sanitized and safe to foster the socio- economic wellbeing of the good people of the Niger Delta.”
*Samuel Oyadongha, Vanguard