After five days of intense aerial operations by the Nigerian Air Force, the men of the Armed Forces and other security operatives have smashed the defence of the bloodthirsty vandals at Arepo to destroy their strongholds.
Investigation revealed that the Special Boat Service of the Nigerian Navy led the ground assault against the vandals by 3pm on Tuesday.
It was gathered that the SBS operatives met little or no resistance as they fired their way into the heart of the vandals' empire where several innocent security men were killed and buried.
The SBS is a special operations unit of the Nigerian Navy comprising only male commandos whose roles include "Reconnaissance and Surveillance, covert beach reconnaissance in advance of an amphibious assault, recovery or protection of ships and oil installations subject to hostile state or non-state action, Maritime Counter-Terrorism and offensive Action."
It was gathered that while the naval commandos moved into the dreaded forest and destroyed the shanty settlement and thousands of jerry cans and other tools used for siphoning fuel, elements of the ongoing 'Operation Awatse' provided tight security on the land area.
Investigation revealed that several soldiers, policemen and the men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps were deployed in the area to prevent any surprise attack by the armed vandals.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the commencement of the ground action against the vandals.
He stressed that the operation was designed to continue until the vandals were completely removed from the nation's pipeline at Arepo.
Abubakar said that some of the vandals fled Arepo to Tongeji, an island off the coast of Badagary, where they were said to have held a meeting.
He said that some of the hoodlums also fled to Snake Island, adding that efforts were ongoing to track them.
He said that the Defence authorities were conducting surveillance in the area to prevent them from regrouping to cause further havoc.
When asked to confirm if ground troops had moved into Arepo, Abubakar said, "That operation is a continuous one. Some of them fled to Tongeji Island where they had a meeting and Snake Island, off the general area of Arepo.
"That is where they are moving to but we are able to block the general area of Arepo.
"We are mounting all round defence surveillance to ensure that those who sneaked into the place are arrested and denied free movement or regrouping.
"You know other security agencies are involved like the civil defence, the police and you know, it has been a joint one.
"So, each of the security agencies is giving its own expertise and knowledge to ensure that those who might have escaped are apprehended to deny them from regrouping and causing unnecessary havoc again."
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, said on Tuesday that the security outfit would not allow any form of declaration of republic in the region.
The Commander, ODS, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, stated this during a news conference at the headquarters of the joint force in Igbogene, Bayelsa State, after meeting with component commanders of the outfit.
Okojie spoke against the backdrop of troops' deployment in Boro Town, Kaiama, in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area of the state over threats by militants to declare the Niger Delta Republic.
Explaining the heavy presence of the military, Okojie said, "The Federal Republic of Nigeria belongs to all of us and the Armed Forces can be anywhere at any time. And we have decided to show our presence in this general area because ODS covers the whole of the Niger Delta maritime area."