At least twenty three Niger Delta militants have been killed during a fierce gun battle with troops of the Nigerian Army bearing the codenamed ‘Crocodile Smile’.
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Speaking on Saturday, the general officer commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, Ibrahim Attahiru, said 38 of their camps and 91 illegal refineries as well as bunkering sites were destroyed during the gun duel in the Niger Delta region.
This is even as 55 assorted weapons were recovered with several of the suspects fleeing with various degrees of injury.
“The precursor operations were followed by `Exercise Crocodile Smile’ proper, which was orchestrated and conducted with sequencing and lines of operation to upgrade the skills, expertise and competence of the troops in land and riverside environments,” he said.
“Over 3,000 soldiers were deployed along two axis on land, creeks and the general littoral area of the Niger Delta region, while forward-operating bases were established from where operations were conducted along the creeks and littoral area.”
While stating that the exercise aimed at stemming growing restiveness within the region, the GOC, however, regretted that four soldiers died during the exercise.
According to Attahiru, three soldiers lost their lives in a boat mishap, while one died during cross fire with the militants.