It claimed the seven included four children, one woman, an elderly man, and a driver of a boat they were travelling in. MEND said they were shot without warning as they approached a task force checkpoint at Kangbene community in Delta State.
When contacted, the JTF debunked the claim by MEND that its operatives killed seven persons in Kangbene Community in Delta State. Col. Rabe Abubakar, the JTF spokesman said MEND’s claim is “yet another concocted lie against JTF to attract sympathy and distract us from carrying out our national duties in the region”. He added that “if we could release nine suspected militants, arrested during our encounter last month with the militants, why should JTF now kill innocent persons? We are only targeting criminals/militants and not innocent citizens.”
Abubakar, however, told the public not to believe anything from MEND, who he said, instead of giving up and accepting the amnesty opportunity offered to them by the Federal Government, preferred criminality.
In a related development, six suspected militants were arrested in the early hours of yesterday by Soldiers of the Joint Taskforce (JTF) code name Operation Restore Hope after a fears gun battle with militants believed to be loyal to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) at a hideout at Bodo area of Gokhana local government of Rivers State. A famous militant leader, Baridon Amata, alias Awe was killed by the Soldiers during the clash.
Soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF), acting on a tip-off stormed the militants’ hideout in the area in a bid to arrest them but were attacked by the suspected militants that led to the exchange of fire that claimed Awe’s life. However, four suspected militants that include four men and two women were arrested by the Soldiers.
Confirming the incident, Coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC) of JTF, Colonel Rabe Abubakar said one machine gun, one AK 47 rifle, one sub machine gun, three G 3 rifles and 69 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition were recovered from the arrested suspects. He said the suspects have been handed over to civil security agency for further investigation.