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Bayelsa: Four Soldiers Feared Dead, Several Militants Killed in Military Operation

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At least four soldiers were feared dead on Tuesday in an operation to rid Toru Ndoro, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State of militants who beheaded a security operative who had been on the trail of a militant warlord in the area.

During the ongoing operation which took effect last week, several commanders and foot soldiers fighting on the side of the hoodlums were also said to have been exterminated by the military spearheaded by men of the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OpDS).

The bloody clash, THISDAY learnt, had also led to more  residents fleeing the embattled community, in which the kingpin simply identified as ‘General’ Karaowei, who is alleged to have masterminded several heinous crimes in the waterways around the area, held sway.

Many of the security chiefs in the region were said to have been riled by the sheer audacity of the gang, which after killing the senior security officer,  made a ceremony out of the murderous act by displaying the head around several communities in apparent triumphalism.

Enquiries directed at the Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre of the special security outfit, JTF, Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, were yet to be responded to yesterday evening, but a senior military officer in the know of the operation, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the killing of the four soldiers by the militants.

He  disclosed that the military were already closing in on the murderers and their leader, maintaining that the hoodlums would soon be apprehended.
The JTF Commander, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, also reportedly deployed more troops in the community who were said to have intensified their search to locate the hideout of the militant leader and his boys in the creeks.

Also yesterday, the Bayelsa State Government described the recent killings  as barbaric, lawless and totally condemnable, adding however that the initial killing by the militants took place in Edegbene community, Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, but only spilled over to Bayelsa State during the criminal celebration of the dastardly act by the suspects.

A government statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Dr. Boma Spero-Jack, stated that the governor found the act completely unacceptable and counter-productive to the security efforts of the government.

“The government calls on fleeing members of Toru Ndoro community to return home and go about their normal and legitimate duties, as the government is on top of the matter,” he said.
The statement also called on the military authorities to be professional in the ongoing operation and abide by the rules of engagement to avoid collateral damage.
It advised the army to consider the lives of innocent and law abiding citizens, especially women and children.

Dr. Spero-Jack also called on community leaders not to allow criminally-minded persons to gain ground in their domains, as their actions could impact negatively on them.
Lamenting the situation, the Chairman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Central Zone, Mr. Tari Porri, condemned the violent attitude of some youths in communities.

“The situation there at Ndoro community was orchestrated by some of our political leaders who buy these weapons and pay these young men to intimidate people during elections, and after the election, they fail to retrieve these weapons from them.

“This has brought us to where we are today. This issue is a big problem. And the annoying thing is that when reported to the security personnel, they come after your life. It is very painful. This is a self -inflicted injury,” he alleged.
Porri added: “Some of our political leaders celebrate these young boys more than the sane ones. As a zone and Ijaw youth council, we sympathise with those affected by the operations carried out. We condemn the act in its entirety.

“Cutting the head of a human being and celebrating with it is an abomination, and we condemn it.  We call on our community leaders and rulers to stop celebrating criminals. I am worried that if the military doesn’t succeed in apprehending the young man, his return will be deadly.”

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