About 10 soldiers deployed to the Arepo area of Lagos to checkmate activities of pipeline vandals were reportedly killed in the early hours of Friday during a shoot out with oil vandals.
It was learnt that the vandals had ambushed the military personnel on patrol in the area killing about 10 of them in a fierce gun duel which lasted for hours.
A security source said the bodies of only three of the killed soldiers most of whom were naval personnel have been recovered, alongside their arms while others are still unaccounted for.
The dare-devil vandals had launched a reprisal attack against the security agents who dislodged them on Wednesday night.
The soldiers had stormed the area in the wee hours of Wednesday following a tip off that vandals had caused a pipeline explosion while siphoning fuel.
The vandals who had scooped a tanker load of PMS as well as hundreds of jerry cans engaged the soldiers in a gun duel but were overpowered.
As a result of the exchange of gunfire, the tanker and other stolen products allegedly caught fire, while the vandals retreated.
They however regrouped on Thursday night, started a fire, and while the military operatives headed towards the direction to know the cause of the inferno, they were ambushed and killed.
It was learnt that the Defence Headquarters is responsible for the deployment of troops consisting of the Army, Navy and Airforce personnel to the area under Operation Awatse.
Oil vandals had created a colony in the area for years and attempts by various security agencies in the past to flush them out of the area that stretches to Ikorodu, have failed.
It will be recalled that Arepo, is the same area where nine operatives of Directorate of State Security (DSS), on surveillance were killed while several policemen deployed to the zone in the past had also lost their lives.