Ovie Okpare, Warri
Gunmen suspected to be militants on Tuesday attacked a team of an oil servicing firm, F & A Logistics Construction Company, which is carrying out repair work on the recently bombed Trans Forcados export line around the Batan community in the Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State
The incident occurred at about 12:13am as the militants shot sporadically for over 20 minutes at community security guards who were on surveillance duty on facilities stationed at the boundary community of Eweregbene and Batan.
The militants, who came to the spot in a speedboat after scaring the guards and other workers from the scene, went into the barges that were carrying a swamp boogie and another carrying a crane to plant devices, which later exploded.
Community and military sources, including the Chairman of the Batan community, Dickson Ogugu, confirmed the incident when contacted.
One of the military sources, who visited the spot of the incident, told our correspondent that the suspected militants planted dynamites in the facilities but only that in one of the barges carrying the crane exploded and sank the barge.
The military contact also told our correspondent that it was not true that the Trans Forcados line was attacked, noting that the motive of the hoodlums was to scare the company carrying out the repairs.
Ogugu, while confirming the incident, lamented the continued attacks on oil facilities in the community and appealed to the militants to halt further hostilities so as not to give the people of the area a bad name.
The spokesman for the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta codenamed Operation Delta Safe, Lt.-Col. Olaolu Daudu, confirmed the incident but added that troops repelled the militants from achieving their motive.
In a statement, Daudu said troops from sector 1 of the task force stationed at the Nigerian Gas Company repelled the militants who retreated to attack equipment used to repair the line attacked on November 2, 2016.
The statement said, “Troops of Sector 1 deployed at Delta State, while on watch at the Nigeria Gas Company outpost in Batan/Egwa Area of Warri South West Local Government of Delta State encountered suspected militants who claimed to be members of Niger Delta Avengers.
“They came in two 200-horsepower speed capacity boats but were subsequently engaged and repelled. Effort is ongoing to apprehend the criminals. Also, troops at Batan reported a loud sound suspected to be an explosion.
“Further findings revealed that a barge carrying equipment used for the repair of the Trans Forcados pipeline at the repair site in Eweregbene community was blown by the suspected Niger Delta Avengers militants who retreated after troops repelled the attack. However, two unexploded dynamites found at the scene on a branch and swamp buggy were successfully detonated by our own troops