A suspected notorious militant kingpin, Gift Apollo aka “Thousand” whose gang is said to be responsible for the attack and death of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma creeks between Bayelsa and Rivers states have been arrested by the men of the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) know as “Operation Delta Safe.”
The acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, told journalists during a press briefing on Thursday in Yenagoa, said a total of 266 suspects have been arrested for various offences and handed over to appropriate government agencies for prosecution.
The arrests followed the launched of “Operation 777″, an initiative of the JTF operating in the Niger Delta region, carried out few weeks ago.
He disclosed that the operation has helped in destroying about 436 illegal refineries, 609 boats, 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
“Operation 777 has recorded several significant achievements by men and officers of Operation Delta Safe; anti-illegal bunkering, illegal refining operation was carried out in Okaka community in Bayelsa State which had become notorious for crude oil theft and illegal bunkering/refining activities, and one of the most wanted militants and a member of ‘kill and bury’ gang by name Gift Apollo aka ‘Thousand’ was arrested; the group was responsible for the attack and death of own soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma.
“Furthermore, in a bid to eliminate militancy and reduce the spate of incessant attacks on shipping within Joint Operation Areas (JOA) and identified active militant camps at Okparakiri, Sanikiri and Okporama communities on the tip-off, suspected sea robbers/cultists terrorizing Abonnema-Buguma waterways were arrested.
“Seven Nigerian Agip Oil Company maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a blasted well head in Azuama in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa were rescued and released unharmed.
“Operation Delta Safe have arrested 266 persons for various crimes and handed over appropriate government agencies for prosecution. Several dangerous items such as 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunitions, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines, 135 pumping machines were recovered from the criminals,” he said.
The commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, said with the operations of the JTF in Niger Delta region, the level of vandalism on oil infrastructures have dropped drastically.