Soldiers from the 19th Battalion, Koko, Delta State, raided Yukugbene community in Warri North Local Government Area of the state and apprehended a pregnant woman and a cripple for allegedly being in possession of firearms and ammunition.
A security source told Saturday Vanguard that soldiers who stormed the community in search of suspected pirates/kidnappers that escaped into the bush, recovered arms and ammunition from the woman and the cripple.
However, the Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, faulted the claim that the pregnant woman, Madam Loveth Odibo and physically –challenged Friday Gbangbara were criminals and that soldiers found arms and ammunition with them.
Similarly, the Conference for the Actualization of Human Rights, which has petitioned the Chief of Army Staff, disputed the allegation. National coordinator of the body, Omes Ogedegbe, who called for the release of the woman and cripple, said Mrs. Odibo does not live in Yukugbene and only visited the community for medical assistance.
On his part, Public Relations Officer, 4th Brigade, Benin City, Captian Jonah Unuakhalu, told Saturday Vanguard, “At about 1130 am on 28 August 2015, following reports of repeated attacks by suspected kidnappers/sea pirates along Benin River in Warri North local government area of Delta State, troops of 19 Battalion raided a criminal hideout at Yokugbene community along the river.”
“On sighting the troops, suspects numbering about 15 (some sighted with arms), fled into the swamp. A follow up with shots and movement by troops led to the discovery of 1 AK 47 Rifle, 3 AK47 magazines, 86, 7.62mm ammunition, 1 Russian made double barrel gun and qty 6 x 70mm carts.
“Other items recovered include, 18 GSM phones, one motorola hand held walkie talkie, an amnesty certificate with registration number C02/B13/A2/17167 belonging to one William Molly, 2 voters card belonging to Molly William and Gbagbanra Ogunwa, 1First bank ATM card, 11 pieces of camo trouser and one camo short nikker.
“Meanwhile, 2 suspects; Mrs Loveth Odigbo and Mr Ebire Oko were arrested. The female suspect however, sustained a gunshot wound on the right hand and was treated at General Hospital, Koko,” he said.
According to him, “Suspects and items recovered are in custody of Headquarters Operation Pulo Shield while investigation is ongoing after which they will be handed over to the police.”
Nevertheless, national president of IPDI, Austin Ozobo, told Saturday Vanguard that the military invaded the community on August 28 shooting sporadically and in the process, almost terminated the life of Mrs Odibo, who they arrested with her sucking baby.