Suspected militants on Monday
attacked the location of the newly-activated Joint Task Force, Operation Delta
Safe, in Bayelsa State, and killed three soldiers.
The incident, which reportedly
occurred about 9.30am, took place at Tombi Jetty, Ogolomabiri in Nembe Local
Government Area of the state.
The militants were also said to
have made away with military gunboats, rifles and other ammunition, after an
ambush on the operatives stationed at a checkpoint.
The checkpoint, it was learnt, is
located at the community’s entrance and had been in existence since the era of
militancy in the Niger Delta.
It was also learnt that heavy
sounds of gunshots allegedly fired during the surprise attack unsettled the community
for about 30 minutes.
The situation was said to have
thrown the residents of the community into panic, as many of them who initially
thought the area was under siege ran in different directions for safety.
It was further learnt that the
gunmen, who stormed the area with unspecified number of speedboats, dressed in
white uniform to deceive their targets of their real intentions.
Their immaculate white dresses, it
was learnt, were designed to create an impression that they were members of a
white garment church on a funeral procession.
A resident of Nembe, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, said there was widespread fear in the community.
The source said, “The attack was
deadly and well planned. Nobody had expected that such a thing would happen at
such a time when the jetties were busy with people preparing to go about their
“I am sure even the soldiers did
not expect such an incident to happen at that time. Some persons who were
already sailing out of Nembe said they saw the gunmen but thought they were
mourners because of the way they dressed.”
The source added that following the
attack, some residents in Nembe started fleeing the community while others were
thinking of following suit due to widespread fear of reprisal by soldiers.
Reacting to the killing of the
soldiers, the Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State
chapter, Chief Nengi James, condemned the attack, wondering why an attack of
such nature would occur in broad daylight.
According to him, the military
needs to be vigilant to prevent the stealing of its arms and ammunition to
perpetrate violence in the state and in the region.