By Jude Zoho
The Nigerian Army said its troops on “Exercise Crocodile Smile’’ have arrested leader of a Niger Delta militant group, the `Otugas Fire Force’.
The army confirmed the arrest in a statement issued on Wednesday by its spokesman, Col. Sani Usman.
He said the suspect’s group, the `Otugas Fire Force’, was allegedly responsible for the attack on some oil installations in the Niger Delta and the brain behind the threat code `Crocodile Tears’.
Usman said the suspected militant was trailed and arrested by troops along Agbor-Abraka road in Edo on Tuesday September 6.
“Troops of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army have arrested a suspected national economy saboteur, one Mr Gabriel Ogbudje (an Ex-militant leader), also the alleged leader of the “Otugas Fire Force”, a militant group threatening to attack Utorogu Gas Plant.
“He was alleged to be responsible for the recent act of economic sabotage perpetrated on NPDC/Shoreline major delivery trunk line within Ogo-Oteri general area on the 26th of last month.
“The suspect has been on the run since he was declared wanted because of his public declaration as the leader of the militant group “Otugas Fire Force” and his subsequent declaration of the threat code named “Crocodile Tear.
“Gabriel was arrested along with his accomplice, Mr. Elvis Dweller Ejus.’’
Usman said both suspects had been handed over to the `Operation DELTA SAFE’ operatives for further interrogation before prosecution by the appropriate security agency.
Usman added that troops of the Army’s 13 Brigade in conjunction with Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Air Force and Defence Intelligence Agency operatives arrested a suspected kingpin of the Niger Delta Avengers.
He said the suspect, Isaac Romeo also known as “G2” was arrested in one of the militant’s camps in Cross Rivers.
Usman said the kingpin was arrested with two other persons; Lawson Samson and an elderly man, Iyang Ekpo in Calabar last Saturday.
He said the arrests followed painstaking efforts and tracking of the militants who were at the locations to perpetrate further criminal activities of sabotaging critical infrastructures.
In a related development, Usman confirmed the arrest of a Boko Haram suspect on the Army’s list of wanted insurgents.
According to Usman, the suspect, Muhammed Bulama is number 105 on the list of wanted Boko Haram insurgents.
He said Bulama was arrested with two accomplices; Ardo Abba Muhammed and Muhammadu Kaigama on September 6 in Azare community, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe.
Usman said the suspects were arrested riding on horses and a bicycle and guiding some sheep to the market.
Usman said the suspect, during interrogation, confirmed his photograph on the wanted list and further revealed that he specialised in rearing animals for Boko Haram.
He said the suspects further confessed that they were in the village to sell the animals as they had run out of cash in their hideout.
Usman said the suspects also confessed that they were also making efforts to get some food items back to the camp for the Sallah festivity.