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Abortive kidnapping mission: 2 militants die in gun duel

TWO suspected militants were shot dead in an exchange of gunfire with men of the anti-terrorism squad, ATS, in Delta State, weekend, while five persons were  feared dead and no fewer than 10 seriously injured in an Easter tragedy on the East-West road yesterday evening.

Sunday Vanguard learnt that about 12 militants were on their way from Port-Harcourt to kidnap the chairman of Warri South-West Local Government Area in Delta State, Mr. George Ekpemupolo, the younger brother to ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo when they ran into an ambush by the ATS men.

Acting on a tip-off, the commander of ATS in the state, Jonathan Acha, a superintendent of police, deployed his men to Kaiama Bridge , between Delta and Bayelsa States, waited for the militants, whose itinerary also included a bank robbery operation.

At about 12.00 hours on April 1, said our reliable source, men of the ATS sighted them and a gun battle ensued. Two of them were arrested and two died due to excessive bleeding

Weapons including AK 47, automatic pump action guns, ammunition, cartridges and charms were recovered from the gang.

Yesterday’s accident on the East-West road at Eruemukohwwarein community in Ughelli North Local Government Area was reportedly caused by an over speeding petrol tanker from Lagos, which rammed into the pavement on the road and hit another lorry.

It was not clear how the accident occurred but an eyewitness said the trailer, loaded with petroleum product, might have been coming form Port-Harcourt and that the driver of the lorry, which was coming from Warri side lost control.

The trailer tumbled on a passing bus belonging to Multiline Transport Company while about three persons were said to have been crushed to death in one of the affected commercial vehicles, painted  in the blue and white colours of Delta State.

Divisional Traffic Officer of A Division, Ughelli, Victor Osawaru, who was met at the scene by Sunday Vanguard, said, “I am here with my men, we have taped the scene, you can see things for yourself”.

Men of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) evacuated the victims to the Ughelli General Hospital while further rescue operation was going on as at when 4.30 pm.

A woman, Mrs. Oluchi Igwe and her four children, however, survived the tragedy. Mrs. Igwe, who was bleeding in the nose and mouth, thanked God for sparing her life and that of her children.


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