Jonah Unuakhalu, a captain, spokesman for the 4th Brigade, Nigerian Army, has said anti-pirates soldiers arrested a pregnant woman, Loveth Odibo, and a cripple with different arms and ammunition, including AK 47 assault rifles. He told Vanguard in response to the allegation that the soldiers of the 19th Battalion wrongfully invaded a Delta community, Yukugbene community in Warri North Local Government Area, ostensibly in pursuit of sea pirates on 28 August. The community are accusing the soldiers of wrongful arrest of the cripple and Odibo, who had a baby purportedly sucking her breast when arrested. Austin Ozobo, president, Ijaw People Development Initiative, alleged the soldiers shot sporadically when they entered into the area and almost killed the pregnant woman, identified as Mrs. Odibo.
The military, however, disagreed with the community’s account. Unuakhalu, said the soldiers acted “following reports of repeated attacks by suspected kidnappers/sea pirates along Benin River in Warri North local government area of Delta State” and aimed to flush “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”, he stated.
“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. Unuakhalu added that Odibo sustained “a gunshot wound on the right hand and was treated at General Hospital, Koko.”