MILITANTS who blew up crude oil and gas pipelines in Delta State for three days last week, have beat a retreat following an intensive manhunt for them by operatives of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta and appeals by traditional rulers and concerned leaders of Ijaw ethnic nationality.

Riverine dwellers in affected communities in Warri South-West Local Government Area, said that there was relative calm, yesterday, following the overpowering presence of soldiers who invaded some communities and suspected hideouts of the militants.

One of them, John Preye, said: “The restriction on movements has been relaxed, people can now go about without the kind of search soldiers subjected us to on Saturday and Sunday.”
We gathered that many Ijaw traditional rulers contacted known leaders of militant groups in their areas and threatened to hold them responsible if soldiers bombarded their communities because of their activities.

The Commander of JTF, Major-Genera Alani Okunola, boasted on Sunday during inspection of bombed gas pipelines at Egwa II, that the task force was closing in on the militants and would fish them out.