Nigerian military has thwarted an attempted hijack of a vessel in the restive Niger Delta and separately arrested five pipeline vandals, a Nigerian military spokesperson said on Sunday.
“Troops of Operation Base 2 repelled a hijack of a vessel (MT VAJARA) by heavily armed bandits in Ramos River, around Agge area of Delta state,” Lieutenant Commander Thomas Otuji said in a statement.
He said the pirates were repelled last week after a fierce exchange of fire with government troops.
Ship hijackings have become more frequent since President Muhammadu Buhari last year announced he was winding down an amnesty to former militants in the oil-rich Niger delta region.
Otuji also said five people were arrested on October 17 and 18 near oil wellheads around the port city of Warri.
“Five suspected vandals were arrested and they confessed to their plan to vandalise the wellheads,” he said, adding that two boats were recovered during the operation.
He said the military was committed to making the entire Niger Delta and the waterways safe for oil firms, vessels and their crew.
He said the military also recently responded to distress calls by travellers who were attacked by pirates in the southern states of Cross River and Rivers, adding that the troops had killed the criminals and rescued the travellers.