The Commander of the 4 Brigade, Brigadier-General Farouk Yahaya, has confirmed the apprehension of 10 suspected members of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.
According to him, the suspects were arrested at about 1:40am on Saturday, in Oporaza community, the headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, following a cordon and search operation conducted in the community.
Parading the suspects on Sunday in Benin, the Edo State capital, Yahaya revealed that several items were recovered from the arrested suspects.
He also said that there had been several cases of sabotage by suspected militants and vandals in Delta State since January 1, 2016, as well as further warnings and threats “to shut down all operations” in the sector.
He gave the items recovered from the suspects to include 28 detonator cords (also known Detonator 33), one pistol, two empty pistol magazines, 196 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition, one round of nine-millimetre ammunition, a live cartridge and five daggers.
Also recovered were 15 handheld radio sets, 18 phones, 203 SIM cards of three major network providers, five swimsuits, two headlamps, a laptop, two ipads and a camera.
Others are seven wraps of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, five speedboat throttle cables, six pairs of hand gloves, N23,000 cash and a cheque book.
The commander explained that while the true identity of the suspects would be unraveled through investigations, recent explosions carried out by the NDA suggested that the arrested suspects may be connected to the group.
“Within the period under review, you can see that the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed virtually all acts of criminal activities against oil and gas and they continue threatening a shutdown of the whole sector.
“So, most likely, they (suspects) will be the people, who else would they be?” Yahaya asked.
The Brigade Commander, who dismissed speculation that the militants may have adopted the use of charms to evade arrest, said:
“We are not worried by voodoo. It did not stop the suspects from being arrested and others that have been arrested before now. Whatever a person wants to use, he can use it. But I know that God is always on the side of the truth.
“Operations that led to these arrests and recoveries were conducted professionally, guided by our mandate, operation orders, code of conduct and rules of engagement. Our operations are strictly targeted against perpetrators of all criminal acts in our area of responsibility and not innocent citizens.”