By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa‚ÄîThe Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta code named Operation Pulo Shield, yesterday, announced a partial ban on the deployment of soldiers on escort duty for staff and cargoes of oil multinationals in the creeks of the region.
According to the JTF, the partial ban would be lifted if the oil multinationals agreed to the use of gun boats on the escort duty as a counter measure against the rising attacks on military personnel on escort duty by sea pirates in the region.
The Chief of Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major-General Paul Isang, disclosed this in Yenagoa during an assessment tour of the special security outfit.
He said the decision that informed the partial ban was to checkmate the use of speed boats to convey military personnel on escort duty and reduce cases of loss of lives of JTF personnel.
Isang noted that the decision by the JTF, which was endorsed by the Defence Headquarters, would enhance safety and security for the military personnel as well as the staff of the oil multinationals.
Major-General Isang, who earlier visited the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), commended the state government for the new partnership and support for the joint military operations of the JTF.
He said the assessment tour to the JTF headquarters was a quarterly assessment visit to evaluate security missions outside the Defence Headquarters.
He said: ‚ÄúThe visit also allows the Defence Headquarters to make projections for the coming year, 2014.‚Äù
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor said though the security of the creeks and waterways was tedious and a major challenge to the JTF, the successes recorded were commendable.
Jonah noted that the cooperation between the state government and the men of the JTF led to a new security policy that brought about existing peace in the state, saying, ‚ÄúWe are aware of the challenges facing the soldiers. The issue of boats, vehicle and personnel is a challenge.‚Äù