The Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, has arrested two militants said to be the masterminds of recent attacks on oil installations in the region.
The Commander, ODS, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, made this known during the parade of the suspects in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Apochi said the suspected militants were popularly identified as ‘General Eagle’ and ‘General VIP’ in the creeks.
The commander said that the arrest of the suspects, who had allegedly admitted to be the brains behind attacks on the Nigerian Agip Oil Company oilfields in Bayelsa State, was as a result of the tenacity of operations launched against vandals by the troops.
He noted that the activities of the two suspects were responsible for the slump in oil output following several attacks and threats to oil firms to succumb to their demands.
Apochi said, “I am glad to announce that two notorious kingpins identified as General Eagle and General VIP have been apprehended. From interrogation, they have admitted to committing several crimes.
“The criminals and their group have at various times masterminded the destruction of oil infrastructure and sabotage to the economy. They have engaged in illegal bunkering and kidnap of high profile victims.
“The self-acclaimed General Eagle said he recently organised and blew up one of the oil company’s risers at Golubokin along Obama-Brass pipeline in Bayelsa. He also claimed responsibility for the planting of explosives at Agip’s oilfields.”
The Commander said that preliminary investigations had uncovered threats by text message to oil firms and their staff to carry out more attacks if their demands for financial gratifications were not met.
He said that troops acting on intelligence, raided their hideouts in Yenagoa and arrested three other suspects currently being interrogated.
According to him, one of the suspects in custody of the ODS claimed during interrogation to be a pirate, ‘pipeline bleeding expert’ responsible for several destruction of oil facilities.
He advised aggrieved groups to take advantage of the Federal Government’s windows of opportunities to amicably resolve grievances rather than resorting to criminal acts.
Apochi assured Nigerians that the military would not rest on its oars until the region was sanitised of criminals and solicited the support of the public by providing timely and credible information required to fish out and flush the criminals.
He also said that steps were being taken to ensure a crime-free Yuletide as patrols had been intensified on the East-West Road as well as the waterways in the Niger Delta region.