Crocodile Smile: Soldiers, militants engage in fierce gun battle, 23 feared killed

Their recent Operation Crocodile exercise in the region, however, led to the death of four soldiers

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– GOC 82 Division, Enugu says the troops also carried out humanitarian activities in the region

Some Niger Delta militants

About 23 militants and criminals have been confirmed dead by Nigerian soldiers during a recent Operation Crocodile smile military exercise in Niger Delta.

Reports credited to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) have it that 55 assorted weapons were also seized from suspected criminals during the operation by the Nigerian troops deployed to restore sanity to the region.

Speaking on this recent development, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, added that many of the criminals left with series of injuries during the attack, adding that 38 camps belonging to the militants and 91 illegal refineries were destroyed as well within ten days.

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During a chat with newsmen in Abuja, he said: “The precursor operations were followed by `Exercise Crocodile Smile’ proper, which was orchestrated and conducted with sequencing and lines of operation to upgrade the skills, expertise and competence of the troops in land and riverside environments.

“Over 3,000 soldiers were deployed along two axis on land, creeks and the general littoral area of the Niger Delta region, while forward-operating bases were established from where operations were conducted along the creeks and littoral area.”

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While regretting the death of four soldiers during operation, the GOC noted that they seized the opportunity to cement relations with civilians through humanitarian services in neighbouring communities.

“Books, stationeries and generators were donated to some schools while others were given facelift and infrastructure improvement,” he added.

This news is coming following reports by the Nigerian troops that they have nabbed Victory Benjamin, a high ranking militant kingpin in Cross Rivers state.

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According to the military spokesperson, Sani Kukasheka Usman, this feat was achieved in Cross Rivers state as the militant was attempting to collect ransom from a relation of a kidnap victim.

In a statement issued on Saturday, September 17, the Colonel wrote: “Troops of 13 Brigade, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, have in a coordinated operation arrested a suspected high ranking militant kingpin Mr. Victory Benjamin (aka Abuja Daddy and G3) and 3 others.

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