The Joint Task Force (JTF), code name: ‘Operation Pulo Shield’ has arrested three suspects, including two teenagers and an elderly man in Sumoge community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The trio were said to have been arrested late Friday, while fishing close to Chevron oil flow station, “Okan platform’’ on the allegation that they were oil pipeline vandals.
The suspects, names withheld were said to be indigenes of Sumoge community, an Ilaje settlement.
Their arrest, however, was not known to the community until Saturday morning when it was discovered that the suspects had not returned home from their fishing.
Meanwhile, the Sumoge community has called for the release of their sons from military custody.
Mr Taiwo Orisabinone, a legal practitioner and an indigene of the community, said they thought their boats capsised and had sent a team to search and rescue them.
Orisabinone maintained that two of the alleged suspects were under-aged, adding that no incriminating items were found on them.
“We thought their boats capsised in the sea, so we sent a search party to recover their bodies only for us to discover that they were arrested by security agents guiding pipelines.
“They are underage and we found their fishing nets on the waters. We have settled in that community for long and fishing has always been our means of livelihood.
“It will be unfair to arrest natives, who know nothing about pipeline vandalism,’’ he said.
However, a senior naval officer, who did not want his name mentioned, said navy was not involved in the arrest of the three persons.
“Our men did not go out on Friday, so it is not likely the arrest came from our end,’’ the source said.
Effort to reach the JTF spokesman, Col. Isa Ado on phone for comment was unsuccessful.