…says 11 fleeing vandal arrested, ready to expand operations
The anti-pipeline vandalism Joint Task Force (JTF), put together to tackle the problems of pipeline vandalisation and economic sabotage in the Arepo area of Ogun State yesterday said it has weakened the power base of the vandals in that area and other creeks in the trouble zone, preventing them from operating in the area.
The revelation came just as it also revealed that 11 vandals fleeing from the aerial bombardment by Nigerian Air Force attack helicopters, the MI-35, were arrested by the Joint Task Force.
Click the link to watch the attack https://youtu.be/x7KwenfkKw0
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, the Chairman of the operation, code named Operation Awatse and the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, said the taskforce has more targets to take out hence its decision to continue the bombardment,
He said: “Already, we have arrested 11 suspects who were being processed and we are profiling and interrogating them to get more clues that will assist us in the operation.
“We have 11 suspects in our custody. They are still being processed. All the security agencies are involved in this operation to avoid infiltration of other areas by militants. The attack will not be limited to Arepo. If we get information that some of them have escaped to Lekki or other areas of Lagos, we will go after them.”
Admira Bobai said the taskforce would be left with no option but to set ablaze, the thousands of jerry cans filled with stolen product that were seen on the surveillance camera of the NAF aircraft.
He said: “We will set them ablaze because it’s not easy to recover any of the stolen petroleum products stored in jerry cans in the
The FOC spoke with the media alongside other heads of other security agencies in Lagos after a meeting to assess the operation, which started since Thursday with the bombing of the creeks and mangroves of Ishawo , Arepo, Awawa, Elepete and Ibafo areas of Ogun State.
He said: “Through the surveillance gathered, we identified four key targets, which we believe when knocked off, will set confusion in the militants’ and vandals’ camp.
“The Nigeria Air Force over the weekend used their Alpha Jets and helicopters to identify the targets and so, we had to call all the agencies involved to do an after battle assessment.
“We have watched the video that the reconnaissance aircrafts have captured and we are very convinced that there is need to sustain the operation.
“Therefore, we are going to sustain and continue to mob up the ground as the Nigerian Air Force continues to use their air power to neutralize some other areas.”
While explaining the importance of the meeting to the entire exercise, the Chairman of the taskforce said: “After using some of their surveillance air craft to carry out reconnaissance of the areas since Thursday, the Nigerian Air Force pilots were at the Logistics Command today to brief us.”
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army Major General Isidore Edet; the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Force Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Sani Ahmed, the Commander, 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army Brigadier General Sani Mohammed, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni; the Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Tajudeen Balogun; and the Director, Department of State Security Services ( DSS) attended the briefing.
Although the navy chairs the JTF, the aerial bombardment, surveillance and reconnaissance is being carried out under the leadership of the AOC Logistics Command, AVM Sani Ahmed, who coordinates and guides the air component of the entire exercise.
With so many targets in the creeks, it was gathered that the vandals had set up observation posts, which are manned by their heavily armed duty guards.
The surveillance videos obtained by the NAF Beach craft (NAF 202), indicated that the vandals were heavily armed and they had the GPMG, which they mounted on their gunboats.
However, with the aerial bombardments and launching of rockets on some of their camps, it was gathered that the vandals have retreated farther into the mangroves, as their escape routes have been blocked.
While the army component, with the help of the NSCDC, police and DSS have blocked their access through the land, the other exit points on the water, especially the Abeokuta, Ishawo, Igando exit points have been blocked by the navy.
According to Bobai, the decision to therefore sustain the aerial bombardment, was to ensure that the four key targets gotten on the surveillance videos are knocked out using precision attack on registered targets.