The Nigerian Army has said that a soldier and two operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were shot dead on Sunday following a gun duel with suspected militants in Rivers State.
Spokesman of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, Aminu Iliyasu, confirmed the killings in a statement on Monday.
Mr Iliyasu said the security operatives were killed and their weapons carted away while preventing militants from vandalising an oil and gas facility in Gio community, Tai area of Rivers.
“The suspected militants attacked troops of 29 Battalion, 6 Division, with personnel of NSCDC in the early hours of Sunday.
“The team which was guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company Trans National Pipelines in Gio community prevented the militants from vandalising 24 and 28 of the TNP.
“Unfortunately, during the ensuing gunfire, one soldier and two personnel of NSCDC lost their lives and their weapons, one AK 47 and two G3 rifles, carted away by the assailants,” he said.
Iliyasu said reinforcement was sent to the area and in the process a prime suspect, Korobe Menele, was shot dead in a shootout with troops.
“At about 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, troops acting on reliable intelligence sighted a white Toyota Hilux that was without a number plate. The vehicle had four occupants.
“Efforts to stop the vehicle by troops at a checkpoint were ignored. However, troops chased the speeding vehicle and caught up with it around Kira Junction, along Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic.
“Sensing danger, the occupants opened fire at troops in a bid to escape. But, troops reacted and incapacitated the vehicle,” he said.
The body of the suspected cultist and recovered arms and ammunition have been handed over to NSCDC for further action, the statement said.