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JTF confirms death of 4 soldiers, says it did not invade Bayelsa community

Valentine Chinyem



JTF confirms death of 4 soldiers, denies alleged invasion of Bayelsa community

The Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta on Wednesday confirmed the death of four soldiers in an ambush by unknown gunmen at Letugbene in Bayelsa state.

Major Victor Olukoya, Spokesman of the joint force code-named Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the incident happened on Feb. 16.

“Troops while carrying out their routine duty within its area of responsibility on Feb. 16, at about 6 p.m. were ambushed by unknown gunmen.

“Four soldiers were killed in action. However, investigation is ongoing to ascertain the persons or groups behind the attack,” he said.

Olukoya debunked an online media report that the soldiers invaded the community in a reprisal attack, describing the report as false and unfounded.

“It is important to state here that contrary to an online report, the men of OPDS did not invade Ekeremor community at any time,” he explained.

Olukoya said that the mandate of OPDS was to protect oil facilities, deter militancy and oil theft.

He said OPDS had no business with invading communities, but had remained committed to securing the lives of law-abiding residents.

According to him, commanders of the troops who visited the areas found the people going about their normal businesses.

“The Commander Operation Delta Safe along with Commander 16 Brigade and Commander Sector 2 were in Letugene Beneside, Ogbotobo, Tunu and other communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area.

“They observed citizens going about their lawful duties without any hindrance contrary to the erroneous impression created in the false news report.

“The OPDS advises the good people of Ekeremor LGA to please remain law-abiding as the command will fish out the perpetrators of the ungodly act and ensure a secured environment for all,” Olukoya said.

It will be recalled that four naval ratings escorting a vessel were killed by suspected pirates in December 2019 in Ekeremor LGA.

A manhunt for the criminals on Jan. 16 led to an outcry by the people who alleged military onslaught.

The manhunt for the masterminds of the killings however led to the recovery of the riffles of the slain naval personnel.