Posted by News Express | 25 November 2014 | 3,581 times
The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, has rescued Chief Augustine Ebikeme, traditional ruler of Oporoma in Bayelsa, who was abducted by gunmen on November 16.
Lt.-Col. Mustapha Anka, Spokesman of the task force, said this afternoon in Yenagoa that the monarch, who was kidnapped at Kokori town in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, was freed yesterday.
According to him, the rescue operation was conducted by a joint team of JTF troops and operatives of the Department of State Security who stormed the kidnappers’ hideout during ransome negotiation with the monarch’s family.
Anka said: “The team stormed the kidnappers’ hideout on 24th November, 2014 where the victim was being held amid ransom negotiation with the family.
“The royal father was rescued unhurt while suspects fled into a surrounding swampy forest.
“The suspects are being trailed, while the house used as hideout was set ablaze.”
Anka said that the JTF troops in another development impounded an illegal oil bunkering vessel laden with yet-to-be-ascertained volume of a substance suspected to be stolen crude oil.
According to him, the vessel registered as MT Ibiena was seized by a JTF patrol team along Ogulugha community of Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.
He said: “The vessel which, is about 150 feet in length with a kitchen and four cabinet rooms underneath, has 12 compartments, out of which six were filled with crude oil suspected to be stolen.
“The suspects jumped into the water and escaped on sighting our troops.
“The vessel has been taken into the custody of JTF for preliminary investigation while efforts are on to apprehend the suspects for prosecution.”
The JTF Spokesman said that the commander of the Task Force, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, has warned all vessel owners to always verify the intended use of their vessel before letting it out.
He insisted that any vessel impounded and found to be involved in illegal bunkering activity would be destroyed.
•Photo shows JTF operatives.
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