By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa – The Joint Task Force has confirmed the attack on its location at Obioku in the Nembe Creek by militants.
Though sources from the area told Vanguard that two soldiers were feared dead duringÂ the raid at dawn but the security outfit dismissed the claim saying the attack was repealed and heavy casualty inflicted on the attackers who were forced to flee.
The JTF in a statement signed by its spokesman, Col Rabe Abubakar also denied the claim that an Agip delivery line was blown up by the militants.
According to him, the militants who attacked its Obioku base were in search of arms and ammunition following the blockade of the routes they have been using for illegal bunkering and supply of arms.
The statement read in part, â€œThere was attack by yet to be identified group of militants who came in 5 speed boats at about 3am, 19 June 2009 to attack JTF location at Obioko near Nembe, Bayelsa State and this led to serious exchange of fire between the armed hooligans and troops of JTF on duty there.
â€œThe attack was botched and heavy casualty was inflicted on the attackers who were forced to flee.Â There was no casualty on our side nor any community member and the facility we are guarding (Agip Pipelines) are hundred percent safeguarded.
â€œThe purpose of the attack was not far-fetched from the fact that they were looking for arms and ammunition because the JTF has blocked all routes that the criminals used for illegal oil bunkering activities through which they purchased arms for use against their own people and country.
This information is verifiable.Â Any individual or group can verify this information with the JTF at the place where this attack happened.â€
Col Abubakar added, â€œAs we keep saying, the JTF is only here for the protection of lives and property, oil facilities inclusive.Â This is our task which will continue to manifest in our actions by crushing any criminal who insists on causing mayhem and insecurity in this our great nation.Â Hence, we are at all times ready to deal decisively and appropriately on any misguided elements.â€
According to him, â€œthe JTF is never an institution of brutality against innocent citizens as we do not have such records in the past and we will not have it now.
People of substance should know by now that criminals are our targets and we want to reiterate that we are on top of situation in the region as far as we are concerned, because we can suppress any militant group or groups at any given time anywhere and whenever we decide.
â€œIt is not out of place to talk of group that does not exist, however, we want to categorically state that there was an attempt to attack the facility which was foiled at Agip pipelines at Nembe early this morning, therefore, the snatching of gunboat as claimed was laughable as we donâ€™t fight a dream war for cheap glory.
Our men are not cowards; they are trained to counter any unwarranted person or persons in self defence.Â We will keep liaison with peace-loving individuals and community leaders for timely information as regards the activities of the criminals for quick and speedy response.â€