Members of the Operation Delta Safe on Thursday raided five camps of the Bakassi Strike Force, a militant group from Cross River State, and arrested three of its top commanders.
The militant group is known for carrying out attacks on vessels and other oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for Operation Delta Safe, Lieutenant Thomas Otuji, the men of the task force recovered human skulls, motorcycles and bullets during the operation.
Otuji, who described the raid as “very successful,” said the operation was part of ongoing efforts to neutralise the activities of militants and other criminals in the region.
Those arrested were Okon Idem, Joseph Asuquo and Bassey Ekpenyong.
Otuji said, “In fulfilment of its [the ODS] mandate to rid the Niger Delta of all forms of criminality, Operation Delta Safe troops at Sector 4 in Southern Cross River State on October 13, 2016 raided five Bakassi Strike Force militants’ shrines at Debe and Ikot Ofing in Akpabuyo Local Government.
“Similarly, while on covert operation at Esighi Waterside, members of the Special Boat Service captured a suspected commander of the Bakassi Strike Force, Okon Idem. He was apprehended while keeping watch at the waterfront to enable his group to beach the land from adjourning creeks.
“In a follow-up operation, our troops trailed and arrested another suspected commander of the Bakassi Strike Force, Joseph Asuquo, in his hideout at Ikpa road in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. Items discovered at the shrines included three human skulls, expended cartridges and two motorcycles found at the residence of one suspected accomplice, Bassey Ekpenyong, at Ikot Okon Idem.”
Otuji also said that the men of the task force had impounded boats suspected to be carrying stolen crude oil of 15,000 litres at Onne in Rivers State after an air surveillance of the creeks.