According to some reports, No fewer than 100 people suspected to be militants have been killed as the Nigerian military on Saturday continued the aerial bombardment of Fatola, the base of militants and pipeline vandals in the Arepo area of Ogun State.
An eye witness around the scene of the incident at the time, observed that the attack started at about 12pm and lasted for about 30 minutes.
At least eight missiles were reportedly fired by a fighter jet, which flew across the creek at intervals.
Another aircraft was observed hovering around the area.
Residents, who were caught unawares, ran for their lives due to the ground-shaking effects of the missiles.
Business activities were grounded and many residents fled their houses for fear of being hit by missiles.
The residents of Arepo community in Ogun State have appealed to military authorities to save them from annihilation.
The plea follows the bombardment of the area in southwest Nigeria, as the military promises not to spare militants and vandals damaging the nation’s pipelines.
The residents are now living in fear over what they call “a likely reprisal attack by the militants”, most of whom are said to be Ijaws.
“The bombardment began on Thursday evening with one missile released but on Friday evening, another missile was fired at the community,” an eyewitness said.
The acting Director of Defence Information, Brig-General Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the air strikes.
He said, “The joint operation will continue until the area is secure and free from all forms of unwanted and criminal gangs whether they are militants or vandals.”
Abubakar, told The Sunday Punch on the telephone on Saturday that while he would not confirm the exact casualty figure, he knew that some of the camps of the vandals were destroyed.
He gave the assurance that the military would ensure the destruction of more camps in the ongoing operation.
The Director of Information and Public Relations of the NAF, Group Capt. Ayodele Famuyiwa, told The PUNCH on the telephone on Sunday that the NAF was intensifying aerial operations during the day and the night to dislodge the militants terrorising riverside communities of Ogun and Lagos states.
Famuyiwa said the NAF was carrying out sustained operations against the vandals to prepare the stage for the ground troops to move in and get rid of the gunmen.
Investigation revealed that the fighter pilots of the NAF had carried out successful strikes on the two major camps in the Fatola and Abuja and two other areas.
Famuyiwa said the embattled militants were fleeing their fortress into the mangrove forest and were being monitored effectively by platforms deployed for the operation.
He said the fighter pilots were using rockets against the vandals because they built their tents on pipelines, which made it difficult to use bombs in the operation.
Famuyiwa stated that bombs could destroy pipelines apart from the fact that those dropped on water might not explode immediately and could become a problem in future.
He said, “So, for now, it is just the Air Force that is operating in that area. We started with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance basically, to gather information about the position of those people, how fortified are they, and to look into the things that they are doing.
“After that survey, we have been able to identify targets to be eliminated.
“So, every day, we have been striking and we are doing both night and day operation. There are about four camps that have been identified, that we have struck.
No fewer than 19 suspected militants have been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in the ongoing aerial bombardment of creeks in the Fatola and Arepo areas of Ogun State.
It was gathered that some of the suspects were apprehended while fleeing from their camps being shelled by the Nigerian military.