Five military personnel deployed to checkmate pipe¬line vandals at Abule area of Ikorodu, Lagos State, were reportedly killed by pipeline vandals in the early hours of Friday.
The men were reportedly killed during an operation against the heavily armed vandals who overpowered them in the gun battle.
An informed military source said yesterday that the vandals numbering about 100 had ambushed the mili¬tary personnel on patrol at the Abule area killing all five in a fierce gun battle that lasted some hours.
The source confirmed that bodies of three of those killed were recovered while two are still unaccounted for.
Security operatives had stormed the area early Wednesday following a tip off that vandals had caused a pipeline explosion while siphoning fuel.
The source further revealed, on condition of anonym¬ity, that the criminals, who had scooped a tanker load of PMS as well as jerry cans running into hundreds, engaged the operatives in a gun duel but were over¬powered.
As a result of the exchange of gunfire, the tanker and other stolen products allegedly caught fire, while some of the vandals who survived were said to have retreated.
But the criminals, it was gathered, regrouped on Thursday night, started a fire and while the military operatives headed towards that direction to know the cause of the inferno, they were ambushed and killed.
Efforts to get official reaction from the security agen¬cies failed as both the Army and Navy who have their operatives there underOperation Awatse failed to com¬ment.
The Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Western Naval Command, WNC, Rear Admiral Ralph Osondu, confirmed ongoing investigations but declined to state specifically the number of persons killed.
“All I can tell you is that investigation is ongoing. I do not have the details and cannot tell you hearsay. I suggest you contact the DHQ because the operation is under them.
“All participating officers are personnel of the DHQ, they were drawn from other services and so, I cannot tell you whether it was navy, army, air force or police. Only the DHQ can authoritatively comment on this.”

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