The Nigerian Army says its men on Sunday engaged suspected pipeline vandals, who it claims were on a mission to blow up oil installations, in Bayelsa State, killing some while others escaped with injuries.
Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, in a statement, said troops from 343 Artillery Regiment of Brigade, 82 Division, in the early hours of today encountered some of the vandals during a patrol exercise within Gulobokri and Eweleso, around Brass in Bayelsa State.
“During the exercise, the patrol team had an encounter with some armed militants in 2 Speed boats with intents to blow up Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) pipeline at Gulobokri. The suspected vandals opened fire on the patrol team. The troops responded with overwhelming superior firepower and as a result, the suspected criminals sped off from the area with many of them sustaining gunshot wounds. No casualty on the patrol team,” the army said.
He added that a member of the team from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, sustained gunshot wound but was in a stable condition, having been evacuated for treatment.
In another development, the army said a separate team from the same 82 Division patrolling at Perigbene House Boat encountered three speed boats with suspected militants. The troops opened fire on the boats and killed several of the suspected vandals.
“However, the casualty on militants cannot be ascertained as it was raining heavily and the raging storm could not allow troops to go on pursuit of the escaping criminals.
“A mop up operation has been organized for those militants that escaped with gunshot wounds and injuries as they may be receiving treatment in the neighbouring communities,” the statement added.
The army said it would continue to intensify its surveillance in the area to prevent further attacks on the oil installations.