Soldiers drawn from the 19th battalion of Nigerian Army, Koko, Delta state, were shocked to found firearms and ammunitions in possession of a cripple and pregnant woman as they raided Yukugbene community in Warri local government in search of suspected pirates and kidnappers.
It was reported that that the suspected pirates had flee into the busy in the community on sighing the soldiers who were mandated to flush the area of pirates and kidnappers.
But the Ijaw People Development Initiative said that the pregnant woman, Loveth Odibo and a physically challenged Friday Gbangbara who the soldiers said they found the weapon with were not criminal, Vanguard reports.
Also, another group, Conference for the Actualization of Human Rights, has written a petition to the chief of army staff, also dismissing the allegation.
According to the national coordinator of the group, Omes Ogedegbe, said that Odio does not reside in the community only came for medical attention and therefore called for her release.
However, the spokesman of the 4th Brigade, Benin, Edo state, Captain Jonah Unuakhalu while insisting that that the arrested suspects were part of the fleeing pirate said: “At about 1130 am on 28 August 2015, following reports of repeated attacks by suspected kidnappers/sea pirates along Benin River in Warri North local government area of Delta State, troops of 19 Battalion raided a criminal hideout at Yokugbene community along the river.”
“On sighting the troops, suspects numbering about 15 (some sighted with arms), fled into the swamp. A follow up with shots and movement by troops led to the discovery of 1 AK 47 Rifle, 3 AK47 magazines, 86, 7.62mm ammunition, 1 Russian made double barrel gun and qty 6 x 70mm carts.
“Other items recovered include, 18 GSM phones, one motorola hand held walkie talkie, an amnesty certificate with registration number C02/B13/A2/17167 belonging to one William Molly, 2 voters card belonging to Molly William and Gbagbanra Ogunwa, 1First bank ATM card, 11 pieces of camo trouser and one camo short nikker.
“Meanwhile, 2 suspects; Mrs Loveth Odigbo and Mr Ebire Oko were arrested. The female suspect however, sustained a gunshot wound on the right hand and was treated at General Hospital, Koko.”
Unuakhalu added that the suspects and the recovered items are in the custody of the army saying that investigation is still ongoing after which the suspects will handed to the police for further inquiry.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) operating with the code name “Operation Pulo Shield” had arrested an alleged notorious kidnapper terrorising the Niger Delta region.