Port Harcourt - The Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt has uncovered arms cache linked to suspected political thugs in Rivers, following a mop-up operation.
Koko Essien, the Commander of 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, said this while presenting six suspected political thugs to media on Monday.
He said the operation was conducted in Ahoada East, Ogbakiri community in Emohua and Buguma town in Asari-Toru local government areas, respectively.
"In continuation of operation to mop up arms and ammunitions in 2 Brigade’s area of responsibility, we conducted series of operations before and during the April 11 elections in Rivers.
"On April 10, we got information of stockpile of weapons at Samroyal Hotel in Ahoada East and soldiers carried out a cordon-and-search operation on the hotel.
According to him, two suspects were arrested at the hotel with two Pump Action guns; 41 machetes; 55 cartridges and the sum of N300, 000.
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Represented by the Brigade’s Commanding Officer, Intelligence Group Bayo Lawal, Essien said that on April 11 the soldiers arrested two suspected political thugs at Ogbakiri community in Emohua.
He said the suspects intimidated the electorate and threatened to disrupt the election in the area.
"Subsequently, soldiers went after them and arrested two suspects with two AK 47 riffles; three AK 47 magazines and 41 rounds of 7.62mm special live ammunition."
Essien said the soldiers had restored law and order at Buguma town which had witnessed violence by hired political thugs on Saturday.
"Our troops after a hot pursuit arrested two suspected arsonists who set ablaze a building in Buguma town during Saturday’s elections."
The commander said the suspects threw their arms into the river while fleeing from the soldiers’ intervention, but that efforts were being made to retrieve the weapons.