The security personnel were guarding an oil pipeline belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Trans-Niger Pipelines.
The gunmen also carted away their rifles.
The army in a statement by the Army’s Deputy Director of Information, Aminu Iliyasu, said that
“In the early hours of today Sunday the 16th of June 2019, troops of 29 Battalion of 6 Division Nigerian Army (NA) in conjunction with personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) guarding Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Trans National Pipelines at Gio community in Tai Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State were attacked by suspected militants who were hitherto prevented from vandalizing 24″ and 28” TNP thereby putting them out of the illicit business.
“Unfortunately, during the ensuing firefight one soldier and 2 personnel of the NSCDC lost their lives and their weapons (one AK 47 and 2 G3 rifles) were carted away by the assailants.
” An immediate reinforcement by troops at the location led to the cordon and search of the general area with the view to finding any criminal believed to be harbouring within the communities.
“Reliable intelligence led to the tracking of the prime suspect, a notorious cultist and illegal oil bunkering kingpin Korobe Menele Loveday who has been on the wanted list of the security agencies for terrorizing communities in the state.
” Consequently, at about 9:00 am, troops cashing on available information sighted a white Toyota Hilux vehicle without a number plate, hastily driven with 4 occupants.
” Efforts to stop the vehicle by troops at a checkpoint was ignored. The gallant troops chased the speeding vehicle and caught up with the suspects around Kira Junction, along Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.
“Sensing danger, the occupants opened fire at the troops in a bid to escape. Troops reacted and incapacitated the militants’ vehicle. As a result, the bandits abandoned their vehicle and fled to the bush. However, one of the criminals was gunned down and was identified as the wanted notorious cultists and illegal oil bunkering kingpin Korobe Menele – popularly known as MENE. Others with him believed to escape with gunshot wounds – leaving trails of blood”.
” The body and other recovered exhibits have been handed over to the NSCDC Rivers State Command for further action, while troops continue to track the remaining fleeing bandits to face justice”