A gory sight has confronted Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe (ODS) troops at four shrines deep inside the creeks of Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas, Cross River State.
The troops found 25 human skulls at various decomposing stages.
The discovery, it was gathered, raised concerns that the militants were engaged in human sacrifice.
The shrines, which were discovered at Ikot Ene Idam. Abakpa and Ikang creeks, belonged to a notorious militant group, the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF).
The troops, who raided the area following a tip-off, also found other human body parts, including a complete skeleton.
Confirming the development, the Deputy Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC), Lt.-Com. Thomas Otuji, said the operation was conducted by ODS’ Sector 4.
He said: “During the cordon and search operations, the troops discovered 25 human skulls in various stages of decomposition, a complete human skeleton and several other human body parts.
“The shrines were destroyed as troops continued to search for the perpetrators of these heinous acts against humanity. With the clearance of these shrines, the Bakassi Strike Force has effectively been smoked out from the areas it used to hold sway.
“It should be noted that the senseless killing of humans for ritual purposes is sacrilegious and will not be tolerated in any form within the Joint Operation Area.”
Otuji said that the troops arrested two suspects at Idebe Ifak Anam, Ikot Okon Edem and Abakpa in Bakassi.
He said the suspects discovered to be spies for BSF militants.
Also, troops of Sector 2 operating in Bayelsa State, reportedly arrested 44 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) at a club along Mabinton Estate, Okaka, Yenagoa.
Otuji alleged that the group was planning to establish a state chapter of the banned IPOB to disrupt public peace.
“They were duly arrested and handed over to relevant authorities for further investigations. The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and sacrosanct.
“Hence, any unlawful gathering that will cause mayhem, threaten the unity and sovereignty of the country will not be condone,” he said.
Otuji noted that in Rivers State, troops of Sector 3 raided the den of cultists in Finima, Bonny following a distress call that the hoodlums were terrorizing the community with AK47 rifles.
He said the kingpin of the cultists identified as Eagle Face, on sighting the troops, dived into the water, adding that two days after his lifeless body was seen by the locals floating in the creeks.
According to Otuji, the locals retrieved the body and buried it at Bonny River bank.
But he said that two of the suspected cult members were arrested with one locally made pistol, a machete and two handsets.
Otuji said the acting Commander, Brig.-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, praised members of the public for their continuous cooperation and provision of timely information to the troops.
He said Aligbe reassured residents and oil companies operating in the region particularly the people of Southern Cross River of their safety and urged them to go about their legitimate businesses.
“Operation Delta Safe has the full backing of the Federal Government to bring sanity to the Joint Operation Area within its rules of engagement”, Otuji said.