No fewer than 19 suspected militants have been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the ongoing aerial bombardment of creeks in the Fatola and Arepo areas of Ogun State.
It was gathered that some of the suspects were apprehended while fleeing from their camps being shelled by the Nigerian military.
Pilots of the Nigerian Air Force fighter jets have destroyed the four major camps of suspected militants, who are said to be armed pipeline vandals at Arepo, Ogun State, on the fourth day of the sustained aerial attacks on the hoodlums in the area.
Although the military had assured residents of the areas of safety, the operation had created panic among some people in the areas. While some residents had fled their homes, others were forced to remain indoors.
The Director of Information and Public Relations of the NAF, Group Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, said on Sunday that the NAF was intensifying aerial operations during the day and the night to dislodge the militants terrorising riverside communities of Ogun and Lagos states.
Famuyiwa said the NAF was carrying out sustained operations against the vandals to prepare the stage for the ground troops to move in and get rid of the gunmen.
Investigation revealed that the fighter pilots of the NAF had carried out successful strikes on the two major camps in the Fatola and Abuja and two other areas.
Famuyiwa said the embattled militants were fleeing their fortress into the mangrove forest and were being monitored effectively by platforms deployed for the operation.
It was learnt that while the operation continued, operatives, comprising the police, NSCDC, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Army mounted roadblocks at strategic places that could be used as escape routes by the militants.
An official of the NSCDC, Lagos State Command, who participated in the operations, said on Sunday that 19 militants were in the corpsâ€™ custody.
He said, â€œNineteen militants were arrested around the Ishawo, Igbo Olomu and Elepete areas of Ikorodu on Saturday and Sunday. Some of them were caught after fleeing from the areas being bombarded while others were arrested based on information by residents. NSCDC officials from Ondo, Ogun and Oyo states are with us. We are about150. The bombardment is still on.â€
The spokesperson for the NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Kehinde Bada, confirmed the arrest, adding that investigation was ongoing.
She said, â€œIt was a joint operation involving our men, the police, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force. So far, we have arrested 19 suspected militants, some of who fled their base, having realised their game was up.â€