JTF burns top militants' mansions * one feared dead

Posted by Written by Jimitota Onoyume on 2009/01/20 | Views: |

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JTF burns top militants' mansions * one feared dead

Two buildings in Ajakaja community, Rivers State, allegedly belonging to two militant leaders, Soboma George and Adumu George, have been reportedly razed by the Joint Task Force on the Niger Delta, JTF, in a two-day operation which started, on Friday, in the area. Adumu George was feared killed during the raid.

Two buildings in Ajakaja community, Rivers State, allegedly belonging to two militant leaders, Soboma George and Adumu George, have been reportedly razed by the Joint Task Force on the Niger Delta, JTF, in a two-day operation which started, on Friday, in the area. Adumu George was feared killed during the raid.

The military action came on the heels of weekend’s huge deployments of armament by the Navy in the Niger Delta to consolidate on the gains of the battle against militants in the region as well as illegal bunkering, kidnapping, hostage taking and piracy.

The Navy deployed four new Mantra class seaward defence boats, which with a configuration of 17 metres long, can run at 50 knots. Each carries a crew of 13 heavily armed combat personnel. Another seven seaward defence boats were deployed in the Port Harcourt axis to cover Rivers, Bayelsa and Lagos areas.

Two new Augusta helicopters, acquired by the Navy, are equally to be deployed in the Niger Delta for air surveillance and patrol, to complement the efforts of the men at sea.

Spokesman for the JTF in Rivers State, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, confirmed to Sunday Vanguard, yesterday, that the men of the security body stormed JTF stormed Ajakaja community, Friday, with the aim of dislodging militants said to have been in firm grip of the area and had caused many to flee.

Sagir said a three -pronged approach ,which included marine operation to checkmate the militants, aerial survey with helicopters for what he termed reconnaissance of targeted spots and land invasion, was applied. According to him, at the end of the operation ,which lasted several hours with a final mop up, yesterday ,by troops, led by the Commander of the JTF in the state, Major General Sarki Yarki Bello, no life was lost. He said nobody was arrested.

“Two houses belonging to Soboma George and Adumu George were destroyed. No single life was lost. And no arrest was made. The intention of the JTF in the area was to restore hope by flushing out the cult leaders that have held the area to ransom. We started on Friday and then did a mop up today [yesterday] at about 430a.m.The operation was led by the Commander of the JTF, Major General Sariki Yarki Bello. There was aerial survey for reconnaissance to ensure that nobody escaped. There was maritime operation and land forces were also on ground,” the JTF spokesman stated.

He explained that the community and others around it celebrated the action of the security body, saying that they even aided the JTF with speed boats to move people from area to the other.

Community sources that spoke to Sunday Vanguard on phone said the action of the soldiers extended to Udungama and Okukpor commmunties, claiming also that one of the targeted militant leaders, Adumu George might have died during the operation. Some people said they saw him as he ran towards the creek with blood all over his body. There were fears that he might have died. But this could not be confirmed by the JTF.

There was also reported tension in Asarama, Unyeada, Egendem, Ibotirem, Samanga, and Dema as a result of the invasion by the soldiers.

“Nobody expected it. It was a surprise attack. It took the whole area by surprise”, a resident said.

Meanwhile, some residents of the areas hailed the action of the JTF, saying its new resolve to take the battle to the militants and cultists in the creeks was a welcome development. They said the militants and cultists had so terrorised the area that their words were like law in the communities.

Director of Information at Naval headquarters, Commodore David Nabaida, had, while confirming the Navy’s deployments of fresh armaments in the Niger Delta, on Friday, in Abuja, explained to journalists that within the next six months, the presence of the Navy would be felt more in the nation’s maritime space as more deployments would be made when new platforms ordered by the Navy arrive the country.

Emphasizing tha

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