Military Rains Bombs On Ijaw Militants In South-West, Over 100 Killed, Others Injured

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No fewer than 100 people
suspected to be militants have
been reportedly killed as the
Nigerian military on Saturday continued the aerial
bombardment of Fatola, the base
of militants and pipeline vandals
in the Arepo area of Ogun State.
One of our correspondents who
was around the scene of the incident at the time, observed
that the attack started at about
12pm and lasted for about 30
minutes.
Our correspondent counted at
least eight missiles fired by a fighter jet, which flew across the
creek at intervals.
Another aircraft was observed
hovering around the area.
Residents, who were caught
unawares, ran for their lives due to the ground-shaking effects of
the missiles.
Business activities were
grounded and many residents
fled their houses for fear of
being hit by missiles. A resident who was on the road
when the shots were fired said
the Saturday attack was more
intense than previous air raids.
Speaking on condition of
anonymity, she said, “The air raid started on Thursday
evening. It was just a missile that
was released, but the effect was
serious. On Friday evening,
another airplane which flew
across the creek released gunfire which lasted for some
minutes. I could hear the shots
as if they were fired close at me.
But the Thursday and Friday
attacks were child’s play
compared with that of today (Saturday).
“The aircraft releasing the
missiles had three short wings
with a sharp mouth. It
maintained a visible presence in
the sky and anytime it wanted to fire, it flew down as if it was
about to crash. I never knew the
military had such a weapon.”
Another resident, who also
spoke on condition of
anonymity, told our correspondent that he lay flat in
his apartment during the
Saturday attack.
He said, “I was alone in the
house with my son. The boy
shook with fright every time a missile landed. I carried him and
lay flat on the floor. The missiles
shook the whole ground. I am
not sure if I would continue to
live here because of this. My
landlord left with his family yesterday.”
A source close to the millitants
told SUNDAY PUNCH that the
missiles levelled the base of the
militants, adding that more than
100 people were killed. He said, “The whole place has
been levelled. From the
information I just gathered,
those killed today (Saturday)
cannot be less than 100. I am
aware that some of them (the militants) are presently in the
waters where they are hiding.
They are making calls and
seeking escape routes from the
place.”
Another source, who asked the military to intensify attacks on
the militants, said the militants
abandoned their ammunition in
the creeks.
He said the men could regroup
and cause greater havoc if given a breathing space.
He said, “The heat is on them.
One of them said it was because
of the kidnap of a monarch in
Lagos (Oniba of Iba) that the
missile attack was intensified. “He said he had asked his
colleagues to release the
monarch, but they didn’t listen. I
am aware that the monarch will
be released between today and
tomorrow, if he has not been killed.
“The military should deploy
secret officials in Ibafo, Pakuro,
Wawa and other villages. I
believe those places will be their
next hideouts. They must not be given any breathing space. If
they are allowed to regroup,
there will be serious problems.”
The acting Director of Defence
Information, Brig-General Rabe
Abubakar, confirmed the air strikes.
He said, “The joint operation will
continue until the area is secure
and free from all forms of
unwanted and criminal gangs
whether they are militants or vandals.”
Abubakar, told one of our
correspondents on the
telephone on Saturday that
while he would not confirm the
exact casualty figure, the knew that some of the camps of the
vandals were destroyed.
He gave the assurance that the
military would ensure the
destruction of more camps in the
ongoing operation. He said, “No, we cannot confirm
the exact casualty figure in the
operation. There are so many
camps, and we will continue to
destroy them in that operation.
“We have taken some camps. The casualties cannot be
confirmed but I know that we
were able to target some of their
camps and locations.”
Meanwhile, in an attempt to
forestall the spate of militants’ attacks, the Onijegun of Ijegun
land in Lagos State, Oba Nureni
Akinremi, on Friday convened a
meeting at his palace.
Sunday PUNCH learnt that the
meeting, which was attended by all the chairmen of community
development associations in
Ijegun, examined the solution to
security challenges posed by the
militants.
A source close to the palace and who also attended the meeting
told one of our correspondents
that the community had resolved
to hire members of the Oodua
People’s Congress to man
strategic locations in the neighbourhood.
The source added that
operational vehicles,
motorcycles and walkie-talkies
would be provided for the
operatives to ensure effective performance.
He said, “We have agreed to
engage members of the Oodua
People’s Congress for the
protection of the whole Ijegun
against all the attacks that claimed lives in the community.
We plan to hire 70 guards who
would be deployed in various
strategic points in the
community.
“The guards are specifically meant to checkmate militants’
attacks but they will also be
working with the existing
security men in each CDA. We
have budgeted N5m to ensure
their smooth operations and they will start by Monday.
“People have made donations
and contributions are on going
in each CDA. We want to buy
three buses and at least 10
motorcycles to aid their operations. We have already
bought walkie talkie for them to
communicate with one another
and they are well armed. By
God’s grace, the buses will be
available on Monday. “The operatives are a registered
security organisation and they
have their uniform and identity
cards.”
The source added, “Apart from
that, we have resolved that from 12am till 5am, no okada rider
will be allowed to operate in the
community except there is an
emergency.
“We also want to create
awareness for all residents on the need to be security
conscious. We are going to do
this through distribution of
pamphlets and announcements
on radio stations. The abduction
of the Oniba of Iba and attacks on communities in Lagos and
Ogun states are very disturbing.
That is why we are taking all
these measures.”