A notorious leader of a militant group identified as Ossy Ibori was among 14 others shot dead in an exchange of gunfire which also claimed the lives of three soldiers at Ajakpa community in the creeks of Ondo State.
According to reports, the gang leader, Ibori, had mobilised members of his group to steal crude oil from the creeks and engage in other activities when they were intercepted by troops of the Nigerian Army under Operation Delta Safe.
The incident according to eyewitnesses happened at about 1am in the morning when Ibori led his gang into the creeks but were intercepted by soldiers who fired at them, killing the notorious leader and other members of his gang while some others escaped with bullet wounds.
“Immediately the militants saw the soldiers from their hideout, they opened fire on them. During the gun duel, a soldier and a member of the militant group were killed, while many soldiers and militants were injured,” a witness who pleaded anonymity said.
“It was a fierce gun battle. The militants wanted to capture the troops’ location. In the end, the gang leader and 14 militants were killed, while the troops lost three soldiers,” another resident who asked not to be identified added.
A statement issued by Major Abubakar Abdullahi, the Joint Media Centre Coordinator, revealed that injured soldiers had been rushed to a military hospital for treatment, adding that the troops were on the trail of the fleeing gang members.
“Troops of Operation Delta Safe, in line with its mandate to rid Niger Delta of all criminal acts of militancy and kidnappings, in a special operation, repelled an attack on troop’s location around the Ajakpa community in the creeks of Southern Ondo State last night,” the statement read in part.
Continuing, the statement added that; “The attack was led by one notorious gang leader, Ossy Ibori, with a hideout at Ajakpa, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State.
“The leader was gunned down during the gun duel along with some of his gang members. His body was identified by some of the locals in the area.
“While search for other criminals, who jumped into the water with gunshot wounds is on-going, troops have recovered one AK-47 rifle and four magazines,” he said.