Four Sol­diers Feared Dead After At­tack by N’Delta Mil­i­tants

JTF: No deaths recorded, all miss­ing sol­diers back alive

THISDAY - - NEWSEXTRA - In Ye­nagoa

Em­manuel Ad­deh

There was con­fu­sion yes­ter­day in Ye­nagoa Bayelsa State, over con­flict­ing re­ports of the death of some mil­i­tary men at­tached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) fight­ing mil­i­tancy in the Niger Delta.

It was gath­ered that some gun­men sus­pected to be mil­i­tants am­bushed and killed the four sol­diers and a civil­ian along the wa­ter­ways of Le­tug­bene, Ek­er­e­mor Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area, Bayelsa State.

But the JTF spokesman in the re­gion, Maj. Ibrahim Ab­dul­lahi, told THISDAY on Thurs­day that the spe­cial se­cu­rity out­fit had not lost any man.

He ad­mit­ted that there was ac­tu­ally an in­ci­dent in the creeks, but said all the sol­diers who had ear­lier been miss­ing had all re­turned and joined their col­leagues in their reg­u­lar units.

“They have all re­turned. They were thought to be miss­ing be­fore, but they have been found alive and have since re­joined their fel­low sol­diers in the places they were de­ployed. So, I can tell you that no sol­dier died.”

“If the sol­diers weren’t alive there is no way I will tell you that they have re­joined their col­leagues,” Ab­dul­lahi said

But sources said the team of sol­diers were re­turn­ing from Le­tug­bene community when they were way­laid by armed youths who re­port­edly over­pow­ered the sol­diers, seized their arms and moved them to a lo­ca­tion in the creeks.

The hood­lums were said to have, after prob­ing the sol­diers for in­for­ma­tion on their op­er­a­tions, shot them dead, while one of the civil­ians, a boat driver was said to have es­caped ini­tially.

How­ever, even the only sur­vivor of the at­tack who re­port­edly jumped into the wa­ter, was later shot by the gun­men, ac­cord­ing to a source.

Chair­man of the Ijaw Youth Coun­cil (IYC) World­wide, Cen­tral Zone, Mr. Tare Porri, who con­firmed that the in­ci­dent in­deed hap­pened, con­demned the killing of the sol­diers de­scrib­ing it as bizarre and un­pro­voked.

Porri said they were killed in cold blood, adding that his zonal lead­er­ship would meet on Thurs­day (to­day) to dis­cuss the is­sue and other prob­lems af­fect­ing the zone.

But he ex­pressed worry that the in­ci­dent had al­ready led to the de­ploy­ment of sol­diers to be­gin a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Le­tug­bene and Ebe­labiri to fish out the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors.

“Two days ago, four mil­i­tary of­fi­cers were killed in cold blood along­side other civil­ians. Mil­i­tary of­fi­cers went to Le­tug­bene community and on their way back, some per­sons ac­costed them and killed all of them.

“Only one of them es­caped. Mil­i­tary, yes­ter­day morn­ing re­tal­i­ated, in­vaded the com­mu­ni­ties and burnt down houses. The op­er­a­tions are still on­go­ing and it is spread­ing to other com­mu­ni­ties like Ebe­labiri”, Porri said.

A po­lice source who did not want his name in print, said he was aware that some sol­diers were killed in the at­tack, but added that the civil­ian at­tached to the sol­diers es­caped.

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