The Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, has announced the killing of a notorious cultist and illegal oil bunkering kingpin, Korobe Menele Loveday, who has been on the wanted list of the security agencies for terrorising communities in the state.
It was reported on Sunday afternoon that the troops of the Division and some officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) invaded Gio, a community in Ogoniland to avenge the killing of one soldier and two NSCDC officials by illegal oil bunkers at an oil facility in the community.
But in response to inquiries from journalists, the deputy director army public relations, Aminu Iliyasu, said it was an engagement between troops of 29 Battalion of 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) in conjunction with personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and some illegal oil bunkerers in the community.
According to a release by Iliyasu, troops guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Trans National Pipelines at Gio community in Tai local government area (LGA) of Rivers state “were attacked by suspected militants, who were hitherto prevented from vandalising 24″ and 28″ TNP thereby, putting them out of the illicit business”.
The statement reads in part, “Unfortunately, during the ensuing fire fight one soldier and 2 personnel of the NSCDC lost their lives and their weapons (one AK 47 and 2 G3 rifles) were carted away by the assailants.
An immediate reinforcement by troops at the location led to the cordon and search of the general area with the view to finding any criminal believed to be harbouring within the communities.
Reliable intelligence led to the tracking of the prime suspect, a notorious cultist and illegal oil bunkering kingpin Korobe Menele Loveday who has been on the wanted list of the security agencies for terrorising communities in the state.
Consequently, at about 9:00am, troops cashing on available information sighted a white Toyota Hilux vehicle without number plate. Efforts to stop the vehicle by troops at a check point were ignored. The gallant troops chased the speeding vehicle and caught up with the suspects around Kira Junction, along Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.
Sensing danger, the occupants opened fire at the troops in a bid to escape. Troops reacted, and incapacitated the militants’ vehicle. As a result, the bandits abandoned their vehicle and fled to the bush. However, one of the criminals was gunned down and was identified as the wanted notorious cultists and illegal oil bunkering kingpin, Korobe Menele, popularly known as MENE.”
Some of the items recovered from the scene and in the vehicle included 1 x K2 Rifle, 2 x Magazines loaded with 52 Rounds of 5.56mm, some personal effects, one pair of vehicle plate number KRK 95DP Rivers and some documents.
The statement added that the body and other recovered exhibits have been handed over to the NSCDC, Rivers state command, for further action; while troops continued to track the remaining fleeing bandits to face justice.