The Ogun State Police Command said it had deployed more riot policemen and an Armoured Personnel Carrier in the Lagos and Ogun communities where militants had killed no fewer than 35 residents in the last two weeks.
The Defence Headquarters also said military authorities had carried out enough deployments in the communities with the capacity to prevent further attacks.
One of our correspondents gathered on Saturday that the police Area Commander in Sagamu had been asked to relocate to the troubled zone to coordinate operational and administrative activities.
Villages such as Imushin, Elepete, Igbo Olomu, among others, had been invaded by the militants on two occasions, penultimate Friday and last Thursday.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the state Deputy Commissioner of Police (Department of Operations), Bello Makwashi, on behalf of the state Commissioner of Police, carried out the deployment after series of consultations on the necessary measures to put in place in the affected communities.
He added that the Area Commander, Sagamu Area Command, Ali Janga, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, would remain in the area to monitor the activities of policemen deployed in the communities, which include Elepete, Imuti, kajola, Magbon and Ajegunle.
Adejobi said, “The command has deployed more mobile policemen in the community. Also, an Armoured Personnel Carrier has been equally deployed to the area.”
Adejobi, a Superintendent of Police, further said the Lagos State Police Command was equally mounting security surveillance on the Lagos flank of the riverine communities under the siege of the militants.
He added that talks were on to get other security agencies, most especially the military, involved in the offensive.
“The two commissioners of police in Ogun and Lagos are already discussing with the highest hierachy in security matters about the attacks on these communities,” he added.
A resident of Elepete, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Saturday, said he heard that the militants returned to the communities on Friday night and were shooting into the air.
He said, “I had fled Elepete with my wife and children since early Friday. I was told that the militants came on Friday night still shooting into the air, as the communities had been virtually deserted.
“Those boys carry sophisticated weapons and the terrain is not a normal terrain. The government should deploy navy personnel and weapons to secure these communities. The police alone cannot handle the situation.”
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has called on the Lagos and Ogun communities who have suffered militants’ attacks to volunteer necessary information to security agents deployed in the area to deal with the situation.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said this while speaking with one of our correspondents on Saturday.
Abubakar said, “Before now, Arepo area was left unmanned but having appraised the security situation and the damage of strategic assets, the Defence Headquarters came up with an operation code-named Operation Awatse.
“The purpose of that operation is to ensure that it dominates all the general areas of Arepo and all the creeks, with a mandate to ensure peace and total protection of the infrastructure there.
“The communities have a role to play. The military – the Army, Air Force and the Navy – are in the area now. Their presence there is to ensure total security and protection of those assets. The issue of additional troops, we have not than enough in that general area.”
The militants who normally accessed the communities through the creeks, had on two occasions unleashed terror on the residents, killing and looting shops in the process.
On their first invasion, 15 residents were feared killed by the militants.
They returned on Thursday night and 20 residents were feared killed in the attack, while many of the casualties were suspected to be landlords.
The landlords, who had formed themselves into a vigilance group due to incessant robbery attacks on the residents, were on foot patrol when the militants opened fire on them, killing seven of them instantly.
They proceeded further to kill more residents and looted shops.
The attacks were said to be reprisals, as two of their alleged accomplices, which include an engineer, were said to have been killed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and their corpses were taken away.