Suspected militants on Monday ambushed a location of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS), in Nembe city, Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, killing three soldiers and carting away several arms and ammunition belonging to the security outfit.
During the incident which occurred about 9.30am, THISDAY learnt, the gunmen also made away with military gunboats, after they sacked the operatives of the JTF stationed at the checkpoint in the waterways of the state.
The checkpoint, it was gathered, is located at the entrance of the community and has existed since the beginning of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
The hoodlums reportedly disguised as mourners to deceive the security operatives before unleashing several gunshots on the unsuspecting officers, killing three instantly and injuring several others, including civilians.
Many residents of the area, it was gathered, became apprehensive when they heard heavy sounds of gunshots which unsettled the community during the surprise attack that lasted for about 30 minutes.
The gang which operated in several gunboats caught the soldiers unawares, thereby leaving no chance for a quick response, a source said.
Spokesman of the JTF in the region, Lt Col. Olaolu Daudu, was not immediately available for comments as his phone did not connect, but a resident of the area said that many people had started fleeing for fear that the military might return for a reprisal attack.
“The attack was deadly and well planned. Nobody had expected that such a thing would happen at such time when the jetties were busy with people preparing to go about their normal business activities.
“I am sure even the soldiers did not expect such incident to happen at that time. Some persons who were already sailing out of Nembe said they saw the gunmen but dismissed them as mourners because they were dressed in white robes”, he said.