By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Troops have dislodged militant camps at the Yellow Island in Rivers State and rescued kidnapped expatriates comprising three Russians, one Ukrainian and two Equitorial Guinean.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major-General John Enenche, said the expatriates were kidnapped on May 9, 2020 onboard MT Rio Mitong by the militants, which whisked them away to their camp.
He said the operation that led to their rescue was conducted by troops from Forward Operating Base, Bonny, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder and soldiers from the 146 Battalion.
He said following credible intelligence, the troops combed the creeks, located the expatriates and dislodged the militants.
He said: “After a thorough search and rescue operation, the gallant troops raided 4 identified sea pirates/militants hideout at Ibiakafemo, Idinkiri, Tombie and Ogboma. The identified camps were subsequently destroyed to deny the pirates freedom of action.
“Consequently, on the early hours of 6 October 2020, the pirates/militants compelled by the ongoing operation surrendered to the gallant troops and handed over the 5 kidnapped foreign expatriates at Iwofe Waterfront.
The five expatriates comprising 3 Russians, one Ukranian and one Equatorial Guinean are presently at NNS PATHFINDER medical centre receiving medical attention.
“The joint team intercepted two large wooden boats laden with an estimated 350,000 litres of suspected stolen illegally refined AGO and about 10,000 litres of stolen crude oil. The stolen petroleum products have been recovered to the Base.
“The Military High Command commends the gallant troops for their resilience and encourages them to sustain the tempo against the enemies of our country. The general public is always encouraged to support the troops by providing credible intelligence that will aid the operations”.