Human Rights

Nigeria: Lagos Invasion – Militants Regroup, Engage Soldiers, Police in Gun Battle

Sounds of sporadic shots by gunmen suspected to be Niger Delta militants, continued yesterday at the Ewedogbon end of Totowu.

They were said to have fired for several hours without coming out of the creeks. But no life was lost.

Unconfirmed report had it that the militants engaged a joint military and police team in another gun battle at the riverine community in Ishuti, Igando, old Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State for a second day running.

However, police sources claimed there was no confrontation. Rather, a joint military and police team, according to sources, were stationed at the river banks to confront the militants who were said to have remained inside the canal, from where they fired continuously.

Reports of attack

Vanguard was reliably informed that the gunmen staged a comeback shortly after the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, who visited the scene, left.

Rumours went round that the command’s boss had been attacked with some of the policemen shot.

It was learned that leader of the gunmen, who attacked the community, lives within the Ewedogbon/Akesan axis.

Sources said that the home of the kingpin had been razed by the residents to avoid its use as attack base.

The militants, in its latest onslaught, invaded Ewedogbon community, early Tuesday, shooting sporadically, an action that set the entire community into pandemonium.

It took the efforts of the the security team to repel the aggression of the militants, though some people from both sides were said to have sustained injuries.

Retreat, regroup

Men of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS, of Lagos State Command, had to deploy and place two Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs, and combat helicopter, on patrol to finally repel the gunmen from advancing.

The militants were said to have retreated into the creeks only to return yesterday evening.

According to an eyewitness, Mr. Seyi Aiyetoro, there was confusion again at about 4p.m., as the militants engaged the joint military/police team in a gun battle, sending residents scampering for safety.

RRS source confirms attack

An official of the RRS, who confirmed the report on condition of anonymity, said: “We received a distress call that the militants regrouped in an attempt to seize the community again.

“They were said to have engaged the joint military/police team stationed there in a gun battle.

“As I speak, (at about 6p.m. yesterday), the gun battle is still on, but report said the militants had started retreating into the creeks again.”

The suspected Niger Delta militants stormed the riverine community attacking and harassing the residents, who are mainly Aworis, inhabitants of Ogun suburb.

The community was said to have been deserted.

The militants, who came in two speed boats, were said to be the same group that likely kidnapped the traditional ruler, Oniba of Iba, Oba Yushau Oseni.

At press time, police helicopters were sighted hovering above the waterways, apparently with a view to ascertain the militants location.

Police assurance

Meanwhile, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, visited Ewedogbon/Akesan commu-nity yesterday, assuring residents that the command would do everything within its reach to ensure their safety.

In an interview with Vanguard, the Police Public Relation Officer, SP Dolapo Badmus, explained that the CP’s visit was aimed at getting a firsthand information about developments in the area.

Her words: “Police have dominated the area. We are going to sustain that for a long time, while the Marine Police Command is stepping up its operations. We are not leaving anything to chance.”

Source: Vanguard