From Joseph Obukata, Warri

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, has confirmed that its troops on Monday rescued nine kidnap victims abducted by armed gunmen on March 29 along the Ugheli-Patani axis of the East-West road.

Rear Admiral John Okeke, Commander of the joint military force deployed to the Niger Delta, confirmed this in a terse message to newsmen on Monday night.

According to Okeke, ten suspected kidnappers were also arrested in the rescue of the victims who included an NYSC member and a Navy rating.

“In continuation to ensure the safety of lives and property in the Niger Delta Region, the gallant troops of the Joint Task Force South South Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), comprising troops of Quick Response Force (QRF) of Headquarters OPDS, Land, Maritime and Air Components on Monday, April 1, 2024, rescued nine kidnap victims.

“The freed victims were kidnapped on 29 March 2024, along Patani-Ughelli Road in Delta State.

“During the rescue operation, 10 suspects in connection with the kidnap incident were arrested. Amongst the rescued victims is a Naval Rating and an NYSC member,” Okeke said.

The JTF Commander subsequently warned criminal elements within the Niger Delta region to desist from their nefarious activities as there will be no safe haven for them in the region as troops will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring a conducive environment for the safety of lives and properties.

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Okeke also commended the troops for their gallantry and efforts in the rescue operation.

He urged the general public to always provide useful information to security agencies on criminal activities within their communities.

Meanwhile, the Delta State Police Command had earlier confirmed the release of nine students who were abducted along the East-West Road in Ughelli, Delta State.

Confirming the rescue, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Edafe Bright, wrote on his X handle late Monday that “All nine of the victims have regained their freedom pls.”

The victims believed to be students were said to be travelling in a minibus before the abduction.

The PPRO stated that the abductees “may have been students who were returning from their school in Calabar, Cross River State on Friday night.”

The bus driver was said to be unhurt, adding that the kidnappers hadn’t demanded ransom while the police operatives had swung into action.

“The command is aware of this ugly incident, and we are doing all it takes to ensure that they are rescued unhurt,” the state PPRO tweeted on his X handle earlier on Monday.