TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MIKE SMITH Joint Military Task Force (JTF) spokesman Lt.Col. Onyema Nwachukwu speaks on illegal oil refineries and miltary operations to dislodge oil thieves in Bayelsa State of Niger Delta on April 9, 2013. Shell Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) had threatened to shut down production in April for nine days in the entire Nembe Trunk Line to remove a number of bunkering points on pipelines vandalised by oil thieves in the region. Since 2009, SPDC has experienced an upsurge in vandalisation of pipeline network by criminals causing severe environmental devastation and forcing the company to lose 60,000 barrels daily this year. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Troops under the Operation Whirl Stroke have neutralised two bandits and averted a communal clash between Tiv and Jukun on Friday.

A statement by Col. Onyema Nwanchukwu, the Director Defence Information – DDI, on Saturday said one of the bandits was killed at the Nagi-Ucheki-Audu-Enger-Adudu axis in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue during patrol.

Nwachukwu said the other one was neutralised at Jootar, a border community between Benue and Taraba.

He explained that the troops averted the clash by responding to a distress call of an imminent violent clash between Tivs and Jukuns at the border community.

The DDI said that although the troops met with stiff resistance by armed men, they over powered them, killing one, while the others fled.

He said two AK 47 rifles, four rifle magazines, 74 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition, one machete, one mobile phone and a bag of charms, one locally fabricated gun and a dagger were recovered from the two scenes of encounter.

In a similar encounter, Nwachukwu said , troops on a fighting patrol to Ikyoawe, Tsegumme and Tsezongo communities in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue destroyed a militia camp after dislodging the criminals.

He said the bandits escaped with gunshot wounds, abandoning munitions and other logistics.

“After the encounter, the troops recovered two rifle magazines, 60 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition and two mobile handsets,” he said.

The DDI urged the people to watch out for persons with gunshot wounds seeking medical attention and promptly report them to security agencies close to their location.

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