The Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta region, Operation Delta Safe, has dismissed the rumour that its men killed innocent persons and rendered many homeless during the Ajapa operation in Ondo State.
The ODS explained that the troops invaded and destroyed shrines and militants hideouts in Ajapa community of Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The Commander, ODS, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, said on Friday during a press conference at the headquarters of the military outfit in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, that there was no iota of truth in the propaganda being circulated that the military destroyed the community.
Suleiman said what they were actually doing was a ‘clearance operation’ aimed at clearing the shrines, the hideouts, identified militant camps and other shanties used as safe haven by militant groups led by the notorious militant kingpin, the late Ossy Ibori, who was killed in a special operation last week.
He said, “We identified them, we don’t just go about destroying houses. These places were identified using our intelligence that those were the places the miscreants and the militants were using as safe haven and for keeping kidnapped victims.
”Those who are coming to say do not know what they are saying. This is just premidated defence by their cohorts; those who have enjoyed the proceeds of these criminals.
“If you are either protecting, or sponsoring or housing criminals, you have lost your immunity, we will go after you. There was nobody house that was burnt down, it is just a propaganda.”
The Commander warned that those who sponsor, collaborate, protect or cohabit with criminals had lost their immunity, saying that the military would go after them.
He further explained that the briefing became necessary in order to update the public on the recent exploit to protect the oil and gas infrastructure and rid joint operation area of crude oil theft, militancy, kidnappings and other forms of crimes.
Suleiman said, “You are aware that early this week, at 8.45pm, on Sunday, April 30, 2017, our troops on special operations repelled a deliberate pre-emptive attack on Ajapa community of Ese Odo LGA of Ondo State. During the duel, the kingpin Ossy Ibori , a notorious kidnapper was killed alongside his other gang members.
”Following that successful operation, our troops carried out a raid operation to clear remnants of miscreants/militant camps, shrines and hideouts used as safe haven. It is believed that they are proceeds of criminality.
”Meanwhile, arrests were made and some items of ammunition were recovered.”
Apochi added that though the remaining militants had fled when their leader was killed in action, the military would continue to maintain ther presence in the general area in order to deter and apprehend all unrepentant criminals terrorising the peace-loving people of the communities.
He used the opportunity to also inform the general public that the troops had successfully unblocked the Ajapa-Bolowou waterways which were previously blocked by Ossy Ibori’s gang for the past four months.