Three suspected militants have been killed in a gun battle with operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the creeks of Bayelsa State.
It was also gathered yesterday that two members of the corps were injured in incident, which occurred on the Snake Creek in Nembe, Nembe Local Government Area.
The gunmen were said to have sighted the patrol boat of the NSCDC and opened fire on the operatives.
But the operatives reportedly returned fire, which killed three of the hoodlums and forced others to flee into the creeks with gunshot wounds.
Militants operating in the state have been attacking, killing security operatives and carting away their arms.
In the past one month, over 10 soldiers and naval ratings have been killed in similar attacks.
The State NSCDC Commandant, Desmond Agu, confirmed the attacks, saying the operatives were on patrol when they were attacked by the gunmen.
Agu said: “NSCDC personnel, while on patrol on the Snake Creek within Nembe creeks, came under heavy attack from the criminals operating in that axis. After the ensuing gun battle, three of the assailants were killed while the rest escaped with gunshot injuries.
“Two NSCDC personnel sustained minor gunshot injuries but have been treated and discharged from the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.”
The NSCDC chief said his men and the other security agencies were clamping down on the militants responsible for series of attacks on pipelines in the region.
He said: “The militants cannot take over the creeks because that’s not possible. The nation belongs to all of us. We are talking about protecting Nigeria’s critical assets. We will make sure that in collaboration with the other agencies, the pipelines and other assets are protected.
“We are ensuring that this thing is minimised so that Nigeria will breathe. Nigeria depends largely on oil. On the destruction of pipelines, we are at red alert.”
The commandant said the security outfit recently arrested a man identified as Tama Emmanuel and two others at Azuzuama for allegedly masterminding the destruction of an Agip pipeline at Ogbounbiri-Tebidaba.
He said a coordinated massive operation at an illegal bunkering den at Otuegwe II in Ogbia forest also led to the destruction of the site and arrest of 15 vandals.
Agu said: “Those determined to make sure we do not sleep, let them look for something else to do. Nothing is in the pipelines except destruction and pollution. Right now, there are no fish and there are no farms. They (militants) blow up pipelines and blame everybody else.
“We would not be deterred by the activities of the militants because Nigeria is bigger than individuals.
“The police, the Army, Navy and others are working together. Their attacks will not intimidate us. As a small child, it was illegal to possess arms, even Dane guns; now, you have sophisticated weapons everywhere.”
The state commandant hailed the Federal Government for supporting NSCDC, requesting that it needed more logistics for the Bayelsa command.
Agu listed the arrest of a suspect, identified simply as “General” Yere, who was wanted for allegedly vandalising oil facilities at Peregbene in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and the destruction of over 400 illegal refineries as some of the successes his command recently recorded.