Nige­rian troops thwart ship hi­jack­ing, ar­rest van­dals

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

LAGOS — Nige­rian troops have thwarted an at­tempted hi­jack of a ves­sel in the restive Niger Delta and sep­a­rately ar­rested five pipe­line van­dals, a spokesper­son said on Sun­day.

“Troops of Op­er­a­tion Base 2 re­pelled a hi­jack of a ves­sel (MT VAJARA) by heav­ily armed ban­dits in Ramos River, around Agge area of Delta state,” Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Thomas Otuji said in a state­ment.

He said the pi­rates were re­pelled af­ter a ex­change of fire with govern­ment troops.

Otuji also said five peo­ple were ar­rested on Oc­to­ber 17 and 18 near oil well­heads around the port city of Warri. “Five sus­pected van­dals were ar­rested and they con­fessed to their plan to van­dalise the well­heads,” he said, ad­ding that two boats were re­cov­ered dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

He said the mil­i­tary was com­mit­ted to making the en­tire Niger Delta and the wa­ter­ways safe for oil firms, ves­sels and their crew.

He said the mil­i­tary re­cently re­sponded to dis­tress calls by some trav­ellers who were at­tacked by pi­rates in the south­ern states of Cross River and Rivers, ad­ding that the troops had killed the crim­i­nals and res­cued the trav­ellers.

Last week, seven sus­pected pi­rates and mil­i­tants were killed in cross­fire dur­ing a res­cue op­er­a­tion while fierce a group of hostages were freed un­hurt.

Nige­ria has de­ployed troops to end re­newed in­sur­gency in the re­gion.

Since the start of the year, sev­eral mil­i­tant groups have at­tacked oil fa­cil­i­ties, slash­ing Nige­ria’s out­put and ham­mer­ing rev­enue.

Oil-de­pen­dent Nige­ria is strug­gling to emerge from a re­ces­sion fol­low­ing fall­ing oil prices and for­eign ex­change short­ages that have led to a mas­sive de­val­u­a­tion of the naira.

Mean­while, se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cers say 83 sol­diers are miss­ing af­ter Boko Haram Is­lamic ex­trem­ists at­tacked a re­mote base in north­east­ern Nige­ria.

Of­fi­cers said the sol­diers were un­able to fight back be­cause they were poorly equipped. They spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they are not au­tho­rised to give in­for­ma­tion to re­porters.

Army spokesper­son Colonel Sani Kukasheka Us­man said last week that some sol­diers were miss­ing and 13 wounded when the in­sur­gents on Oc­to­ber 17 at­tacked their base in Gashigar vil­lage, on the border with Niger. Us­man has not re­sponded to re­quests for comment about the ac­tual num­ber.

Of­fi­cers say dozens of flee­ing troops jumped into the Niger River and 22 were pulled from the wa­ter by sol­diers from the neigh­bour­ing coun­try. They say many may have drowned. — AFP

Hil­lary Clin­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.