By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An alleged Niger Delta militant kingpin identified as Mr Isaac Romeo has been apprehended by the Nigerian troops deployed to the region to curtail activities of militants.
Mr Romeo was reportedly nabbed by the men of the newly launched military operation in the Niger Delta code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’.
The suspect is said to be the kingpin of a terrorist group in the area called the Niger Delta Avengers.
The Nigerian Army, in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Col Sani Usman, said another suspected described as an important economic saboteur, Mr Gabriel Ogbudje, alleged to be responsible for the attack on the NPDC/Shoreline major delivery trunk line within Ogo-Oteri, was arrested by the troops on August 26, 2016.
Col Usman disclosed that the two suspects were apprehended by troops of the 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, in conjunction with Nigerian Navy, Air Force and covert operatives of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
He said Mr Romeo was arrested along with two other persons, Mr Lawson Samson and an elderly man, Mr Iyang Ekpo in Calabar, Cross State, while they were driving in a vehicle with registration number, CRS 86 AO1, on Saturday, September 3, 2016.
According to him, Mr Ogbudje, an ex-militant, was believed to be the leader of the Otugas Fire Force, a militant group threatening to attack Utorogu Gas Plant.
The Army spokesman explained that the arrest of Mr Ogbudje followed painstaking efforts, tracking him when planning to perpetrate further criminal activities of sabotaging critical infrastructure.
He said the suspect was trailed and arrested by troops along Agbor-Abraka road, Edo State, on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
The suspect has been on the run since he was declared wanted because of his public declaration as the leader of the militant group, Otugas Fire Force, and his subsequent declaration of the threat, code named ‘Crocodile Tears’, which was published in the newspapers, while the Brigade was engaged with the military field training exercise, ‘Operation Crocodile Smile,’ the Army said.