Naval special forces rescue five expatriates abducted five months ago

Naval special forces rescue five expatriates abducted five months ago

No fewer than six persons were killed on Monday night in fresh attacks at Wereng (station) village in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. Three other persons who sustained various degrees of injuries are currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.

The killings came at a time Naval special forces stormed kidnappers’ den in Bayelsa State to rescue five expatriates, including three Russians, one Ukrainian and one Equatorial Guinean abducted five months ago by kidnappers.

This is even as Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum, yesterday revealed plans to resettle more Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, despite continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

Among those killed in the Plateau night attack is a community leader who had been in acting capacity and was awaiting his coronation as the substantive village head in Wereng.

An indigene of the community, Victor Pam, who resides in Jos, said that the incident happened at about 9pm on Monday, adding that the attackers who were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons invaded the community, shooting sporadically and sending inhabitants of the remote village scampering for safety.

The village had been under siege for over 10 years, with more than 30 people killed there in the past. Security agents took the corpses amid protest from villagers to the morgue, while the injured were evacuated to the hospital.

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As usual, the state police command, which spoke through ASP Gabriel Ubah, said:  “Investigation is ongoing to unravel the cause of the attack and those behind it. The CP has deployed men to the area to ensure it is calm.”

However, the member representing Riyom/Barkin Ladi federal constituency in the National Assembly, Simon Mwadkom, who raised fresh concerns last week about the continued unprovoked killings in his constituency, said security agencies had not done enough to protect the people.

He said: “It was an unfortunate incident. Nine people were ambushed, six were killed instantly, including a traditional ruler who is the village head, along with five other youths. ‘’Exactly one month ago, some youths were ambushed at the same spot and killed and the security agents will always tell you they are on top of the situation but at the end of the day, there will be no prosecution. Nobody has been arrested.

“Some time ago, the village was attacked and 13 people were killed. This is becoming a recurring decimal in that village.  Recently, a journalist published something about the intention of Fulanis to kill and the sending of people to buy arms in Niger Republic and the DSS (Department of State Services) invited the person involved and drilled him.

‘’Today, I challenge the DSS to also go and get these killers and drill them since they protected that statement, they should also defend this one. The DSS is a disappointment. They will defend any allegation being made about people trying to buy sophisticated arms.

“The three people are still in the hospital, we don’t know if they will survive the injuries sustained. Efforts to get the reaction of the DSS last night proved abortive, as  calls put through the mobile number of the spokesman, Dr. Peter Ifunanya, were unreplied.

A text message also sent to the phone was not replied. Troops rescue expatriates in Bayelsa In a similar development, Naval special forces yesterday stormed kidnappers den in Bayelsa State, rescuing five expatriates. The special forces of the Nigerian Navy, operating under Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta, also dislodged pirates in a shootout and recovered stolen and illegally refined AGO.

Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said:   “On May 9, 2020, some foreign expatriates onboard MT Rio Mitong and MT DjiblohoI were kidnapped by unknown militants group in Yellow Island.

“Acting on credible intelligence, a joint team from Forward Operating Base Bonny, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder and troops of 146 Battalion, swiftly combed the creeks in search of the kidnapped victims.

“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, in the early hours of October 6, 2020, the pirates/militants compelled by the ongoing operation, surrendered to the gallant troops and handed over the five kidnapped foreign expatriates at Iwofe Waterfront.

“The expatriates, comprising three Russians, one Ukranian and one Equatorial Guinean, are currently at NNS Pathfinder Medical Centre receiving medical attention. “In a related development, 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.” Meanwhile, Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum yesterday revealed plans to resettle more Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, despite continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.

Zulum said the insurgent attacks experienced in towns earmarked for resettlement was a ploy to intimidate civilians so that only the terrorists could have access to the towns. Consequently, he inaugurated two committees to complete ongoing reconstruction works and facilitate the full restoration of civil authority, comprising the police, Civilian JTF, local government officials, and Magistrate courts in six towns located in Marte and Gwoza Local Government Areas.

The two committees are to undertake resettlement at Marte in northern Borno as well as Ngoshe, Kirawa, Hambagda, Ashigashiya and Warabe in Gwoza LGA of Southern Borno, only after all safety measures and essential public services had been put in place.

This is even as the member representing Gwoza, Damboa and Chibok federal constituency, Usman Jaha Babawo, described the relocation of the IDPs back to their liberated communities as a good omen, having been displaced for more than seven years. He also donated N2 million to the committee relocating his people to Ngoshe, Kirawa, Hambagda, Ashigashiya and Warabe in Gwoza LGA of southern Borno.

The committee on Marte is chaired by Borno State Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR), Engr. Mustapha Gubio, while Gwoza’s is chaired by Commissioner for Housing and Energy, Engr. Yuguda Saleh Vungas. Members also include representatives of communities and humanitarian actors.

“The committees are to continue with rehabilitation and reconstruction work in Marte and Kirawa/Ngoshe, to undertake palliative repairs of Marte and Ngoshe/Kirawa roads in collaboration with the men of the Nigerian Army, to put in place all requirements that will ensure safety of lives and properties of returnees.

‘’The committees are also to facilitate the establishment of civil authorities on ground, to identify IDPs willing to return home, and to address any other matter that is incidental to the smooth return and safety of lives and properties of the returnees,” Zulum said at  Government House, venue of the inauguration.

He explained that Borno State’s  resettlement drive was aimed at helping citizens pick up the pieces of their lives and move on, after many years of displacement. The governor assured that government would help the returnees to engage in agriculture and other economic activities that will make them self-reliant and be meaningful members of the state.

Zulum also decried the high level of poverty in Borno State, particularly within the IDPs, which he said the insurgents took advantage of to recruit a lot of able bodied youths in the state.

The governor said he was very mindful of the security situation in the state and tasked the committees to carry out their duties without haste. “We should not be in haste. We should not force anyone to return.

There is an increasing demand from the IDPs to return home, don’t force anyone,’’ he said. Meanwhile, Governor Zulum has commended Baga committee for setting a good precedent. He also commended the Nigerian Military for supporting the resettlement drive.

The Governor directed the committee to liase with the Nigerian military to see the possibilities of returning people to Mairari and Kareto.

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