About three soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, allegedly perished in two detached boat tragedies in Bayelsa and Delta States, while suspected militants again bombed the Escravos Gas Pipeline, a facility of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Delta State, at the weekend
. Details were still hazy at press time, but Saturday Vanguard learned that the fresh explosion occurred near a military houseboat around Ogbe-Ijoh, headquarters of Warri South-West local government area. This was as President Mohammadu Buhari was directing the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Eke Ekwe Ibas to deal ruthlessly with the militants who destroy pipelines.
On the latest incident in Niger Delta, the Deputy Governor of Delta State and Chairman, Delta State Advocacy Committee against Pipeline Vandalism, Barrister Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, whose committee is still in the creeks, carrying out enlightenment, told our reporter on phone: “We are not very sure of what happened, but we suspect it was rupture on the pipeline. However, the committee has put structures on ground to be able to arrest this kind of situation and we believe that we will be able to fish out the perpetrators if it is a case of sabotage in due course. We have reached out to traditional rulers, community leaders and youths and everybody is working chase pipeline vandals away from the state."
Revealing how a soldier died in Bayelsa state, a community source said:
One of the soldiers escorting oil workers from an oil spill site drowned at Taylor Creek, near an oilfield operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC in Okordia, Yenagoa local government area, Bayelsa, while the other two drowned when their gunboat capsized. The boat conveying the crew from Agip’s field capsized on their way back from the site at the oilfield across and before help could come, the soldier drowned and died, they were using a hand- paddled canoe to cross the workers one at a time. The soldier was washing his boots when water entered that boat and it capsized and his rifle fell into the water. The other members of the crew had crossed and waiting for him to cross. The attention of the fishermen operating along the creek was drawn to the distressed soldier and canoe driver of the ill- fated boat and they came and were only able to rescue the boat driver.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that officials of NAOC, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Ministries of Environment (State and Federal), Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and oil workers were returning from a post clean-up inspection, PCI, when the incident occurred on Thursday evening. Youth President Kalaba community, Okordia, Mr Samuel Oburo, said that local divers recovered the rifle of the dead soldier on Friday. He said “some soldiers from Elele Barracks came around after the remains of the soldier was recovered and asked me to mobilize local divers in search of the rifle of the soldier. We went in search of the gun and we recovered the rifle and handed it over to them, later in the day, another senior officer came to show appreciation to the community."
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