A soldier and two operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were shot dead in a gun duel with suspected militants in Rivers state on Sunday.
According to Aminu Iliyasu, spokesman of the 6 division of the Nigerian army in Port Harcourt, they were killed while preventing militants from vandalising an oil and gas facility in Gio community, Tai local government area of Rivers.
Iliyasu said the militants carted away weapons of the security operatives.
“The suspected militants attacked troops of 29 battalion, 6 division, with personnel of NSCDC in the early hours of Sunday,” he said.
“The team which was guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Trans National Pipelines (TNP) 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.”
Iliyasu said a prime suspect in the killing of the security operatives, was also shot dead in the gun duel.
“At about 9 a.m. on Sunday, troops acting on reliable intelligence sighted a white Toyota Hilux that was without number plate. The vehicle was hastily driven with four occupants,” he said.
“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 militants vehicle.
“Thereafter, they abandoned their vehicle and fled into the bush. However, one of the criminals was gunned down and was later identified as Korob Menele, a notorious cultist and oil bunkering kingpin.”