- The Nigerian army revealed the details of its operation in Yeghe community in Rivers state
- The army commander said that the shooting in the area was an exchange of fire between soldiers and suspected ex-militants
- He said there was no loss of life during the incident
The Nigerian army has stated that its operation in Yeghe community in Rivers state was focused on fishing out ex-militant leader, Solomon Ndigbara.
Speaking about the shooting in the area on Monday, February 22, Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, the commander of the 2 Brigade of the Nigerian army in Port Harcourt, said that it was an exchange of fire between soldiers and suspected ex-militants who defended Ndigbara’s home.
Premium Times reports that Olabanji revealed the details of the operation while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt.
“Around 12 noon on Monday, we received reports of gun fire in Yeghe community, Gokana local government area and I immediately dispatched my commanding officer to investigate the incident.
“On reaching the house of Solomon Ndigbara, who had been declared wanted by the army for gun running, some hoodlums fired at the commanding officer.
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“The attack on the commanding officer led to a gun battle between our forces and hoodlums which resulted in them (hoodlums) being chased out from the community.
“We learnt that the hoodlums, who fled Yeghe community, later went to Bori community in Khana Local Government Area and burnt down a campaign office belonging to APC,” he said.
It had been earlier reported that four youths were killed as a result of a shoot-out between the military and some armed cultists, while many people sustained various degrees of injuries from stray bullets.
However, Olabanji said there was no loss of life during the incident, adding that the army was currently conducting a stabilisation operation in the area.
He also denied allegations that the army was being used by some powerful individuals and groups to influence political interest in Rivers state.
Olabanji described the accusation as propaganda stressing that no person in the brigade would be involved in such activities.
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The army commander paraded seven suspected cultists accused of masterminding the killings of civilians in Omoku community in Onelga local government area of the state.
He revealed that the suspected cultists had provided useful information to aid further investigation.
Speaking about a two-month mop-up operation in the state, Olabanji said:
“During our two-month operation against illegal bunkering and other criminal elements, we recovered 10 AK-47 rifles, three G3 rifles, eight pump action rifles, 14 dane guns and nine locally made pistols.
“We also recovered one sub-machine gun, two Berretta pistols, 1,073 assorted live ammunitions, two boat engine lines, several military camouflage uniforms among others.
“Several suspects were also arrested during the period and handed over to other security agencies for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.
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Olabanji assured local people that the state would no longer be a safe haven for criminals as the army would hunt down criminals.
He also called on residents to provide information to security agencies that would lead to the arrest of perpetrators of crimes.
Meanwhile, Solomom Ndigbara, also known as Osama Bin Laden, has dragged the federal government and the Nigerian army to court over the invasion of his homes by soldiers.
Speaking with journalists, Eugene Ode, the legal representative of the ex-militant, said that Ndigbara probably would have been summarily executed by soldiers had he been found at home.