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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Soldier, SSS official, nine gunmen die in Okene clash

The Nigerian Army   on  Saturday confirmed the death of one soldier, a State Security Service official and nine gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect in a gun duel in Okene, Kogi.
The incident occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning.
The Brigade Commander in-charge of Chari Maigugeri Barracks in Lokoja, Maj.-Gen. Alphonsus Chukwu, told newsmen in Okene, that three SSS officials were also wounded in the attack.
He said the SSS officials were receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.
Chukwu said a combined team of soldiers, SSS and police tracked the suspects to their hideout in Okene on Thursday.
He said the team decided to invade the hideout, an uncompleted building, late Friday night.
Chukwu added that the gunmen had informed some banks in writing of an impending attack on their branches, adding that as a result of this, security agents started trailing them.
However, some members of the sect escaped onto mountain tops in Okene from where they fired shots at the security officers.
Chukwu said items recovered from the hideout included hand grenade, two pistols, Improvised Explosive Devices and five magazines of AK 47 painted in police colour and motorcycles.
He said security agents would remain on the spot until all the suspects were routed.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that an Air Force helicopter was seen hovering around the town around 4:30 pm on Saturday.
Chukwu said the helicopter would locate the suspects that fled onto mountain tops.
Meanwhile, Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State on Saturday afternoon visited the Federal Medical Centre where the injured SSS officials were receiving treatment.
As at the time of the visit, one of the injured men was said to be in a critical condition.
He commended the security agents for rising up to the challenge and assured the people of the state that the situation was under control.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, on Saturday said it had arrested over 150 operators of illegal oil bunkers in some parts of the country.
The Punch.

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