No fewer than 95 arms and ammunition were picked up in the Isawo and Igbo Olomu creeks, Ikorodu, Lagos State, on Wednesday during the military’s mop up operation in the area.
There was tension in the area on Thursday when the acting Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, visited Isawo and Igbo Olomu communities to see the joint operation going on.
One of our correspondents gathered that in the operation codenamed Operation Awassa, and headed by Lt. Col. Julius Ogbobe, the arms were found in camps destroyed by the Nigerian Air Force and other camps abandoned by the militants.
It was learnt that apart from the arms, the soldiers found the Independent National Electoral Commission’s voter cards, an Ecobank withdrawal booklet, and deposit slips of FCMB.
One of our correspondents gathered that 11 suspected militants had been arrested since the military intensified its activities in the last one week.
Ogbobe, who noted that the operation had challenges moving into some parts of the creeks, was, however, silent on the corpses recovered.
He said, “In the last 24 hours, we recovered eight locally-made guns, 33 live cartridges, two mobile policemen’s uniforms, one AK-47 fully loaded magazine and one GPMG gun. We also recovered two laptops, two generators, a pair of handcuffs, two mobile policemen badges, INEC voter cards, FCMB deposit slips and an Ecobank withdrawal booklet.
“We want to find out who the depositors and the owners of the phone numbers on the slips are. There are parts of the creeks which are inaccessible. We call on the state government to assist in bringing cutting machines to clear some parts of the creeks.”
Ogbobe said the operation was extended to the Arepo creek in Ogun State in an operation codenamed Target Alpha where the soldiers picked up more arms.
One of our correspondents learnt that the naval base in the Isawo area had arrested 11 suspected militants since the mopping up started.
The IG, Ibrahim, who met with the elders of Isawo community briefly, said the residents must work with the police and other security agencies in fighting the militants to a standstill.
He said, “Security is everybody’s business. It is not everywhere you see a policeman or a soldier. If you see any bad person, you report to us. I want to thank all of you for the cooperation and the support you are giving us.
“I urge residents to cooperate with the police by providing us with information on the activities of criminal elements within their vicinities. I want to encourage residents to support the police activities in the area.
“Every one of us has a responsibility to move the nation forward. I thank you for your cooperation and support to ensure that peace returns to the community.”
Meanwhile, the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, told one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday that the troops involved in the ongoing Operation Awatse at Arepo had profiled the 11 suspected vandals now in the custody of the military.
Abubakar said the defence authorities had put in place elaborate measures to ensure that some of the vandals who were on the run were apprehended.
According to him, efforts have been made to put in place all the necessary military checkpoints to deprive the fleeing suspects free movement and to arrest them around the Arepo general area to as far as Tungezi, off the Badagry Coast.
The Acting Defence Spokesman said the security forces had also seized over 1,000 equipment used by the vandals to carry out their illegal activities.
He said, “The operation is ongoing. This is a gang now, that is why we are there, the ground troops are there now, and we will continue to dominate that general area to as far as Tungezi Island. Definitely, they will react, it is a few of them that remain.
“But definitely, they cannot go far because we have cordoned off all the areas and we have established all necessary machineries, all necessary checkpoints to ensure that the fleeing vandals are apprehended.
“As you know, they are on the run. See what we are having now in terms of materials, the things that they abandoned, over 1,000 facilities were captured and the equipment they used in siphoning fuel. We have got a lot of equipment and facilities they are using to perpetrate their crime.
“So far, many of them were arrested in the place. As of yesterday, 11 of them were arrested after we profiled them. Eleven are in our custody and a lot of equipment and facilities they used in siphoning their fuel were recovered.”
He said the vandals operated at Arepo as a syndicate with different people supplying equipment and loading the stolen fuel.