The Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta on Wednesday confirmed that four soldiers were killed in an ambush by unknown gunmen at Letugbene in Bayelsa.
Victor Olukoya, spokesman of the joint force code-named Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, told News Agency of Nigeria that the incident happened on February 16.
“Troops while carrying out their routine duty within its area of responsibility on February 16, at about 6 p.m. were ambushed by unknown gunmen.
“Four soldiers were killed in action. However, investigation is ongoing to ascertain the persons or groups behind the attack,” he said.
Mr Olukoya, a major, debunked an online media report that the soldiers invaded the community in a reprisal attack, describing the report as false and unfounded.
“It is important to state here that contrary to an online report, the men of OPDS did not invade Ekeremor community at any time.
“The military is an organised and disciplined force and all its operations are guided by codes of conduct and rules of engagement.
“So it cannot be seen to behave in the manner that was perpetrated by an online report.
Mr Olukoya said the mandate of OPDS was to protect oil facilities, deter militancy and oil theft as well as other forms of militancy.
He said OPDS had no business with invading communities, but had remained committed to securing the lives of law-abiding residents.
According to him, commanders of the troops who visited the areas found the people going about their normal businesses.
“The Commander Operation Delta Safe along with Commander 16 Brigade and Commander Sector 2 were in Letugene Beneside, Ogbotobo, Tunu and other communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area.
“They observed citizens going about their lawful duties without any hindrance contrary to the erroneous impression created in the false news report.
“The OPDS advises the good people of Ekeremor LGA to please remain law-abiding as the command will fish out the perpetrators of the ungodly act and ensure a secured environment for all,” Olukoya said.
It will be recalled that four naval ratings escorting a vessel were killed by suspected pirates in December 2019 in Ekeremor LGA.
A manhunt for the criminals led to an outcry by the people who alleged military onslaught.
The manhunt for the masterminds of the killings however led to the recovery of the rifles of the slain naval personnel.