The Bayelsa State Government on Thursday said operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps in the state were attacked by suspected militants engaged in oil theft.
The attack occurred in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, according to a government statement.
The statement was signed by Doubara Atasi, who is an aide to Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
The statement was issued after a meeting at Government House, Yenagoa, between civil defence officials, community and youth leaders from Ekeremor.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that unidentified gunmen had ambushed and attacked a team of civil defence operatives and engaged them in a gunfight, leading to loss of weapons and ammunition and the abduction of one of the operatives.
The operative was, however, said to have been rescued by “some community people”.
The state government, according to the statement, said it would not hesitate to wield the big stick against any community found culpable of aiding and abetting crime and criminality in the state.
The deputy governor enjoined community leaders to work closely with security agencies to identify and expose the criminals within the community in order to improve on the prevailing peace.
Mr Ewhrudjakpo emphasised the need for effective collaboration between community leaders, security agencies and the government to safeguard lives and property.
He said leaders, including traditional leaders, youth leaders and community development committee chairmen, have critical roles to play for any security arrangement to succeed.
Mr Ewhrudjakpo assured the civil defence officials that the government would leave no stone unturned to apprehend and prosecute their attackers.
He warned that the government would deal decisively with community leaders who provide a haven for pipeline vandals, pirates and other criminals to carry out their operations.
“Our community leaders should understand that they also have a lot of responsibilities. As a CDC chairman, you have a duty to protect government facilities in your community.
“Your duty as youth president includes identifying criminal elements in the community and reporting them to the CDC chairman, the ruler, elders of the community and even security agencies, and not to share in royalties.” Mr Ewhrudjakpo said.
The statement said Akpoebi Agberebi, a security aide to governor, condemned the attack, as well as commended the community which rescued the operative.
Meanwhile, the commandant of the civil defence corps in the state, Christiana Abiakam-Omanu, thanked the community for rescuing the operative.
The community pledged to help in tracing those behind the attack.
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