The seven operatives of the Department of State Services who were killed on Wednesday by vandals in Ikorodu, Lagos, did not engage their killers in a firefight before they were murdered, PUNCH Metro learnt.
It was gathered that the operatives were on a surveillance of the area when they were accosted by the armed vandals who gunned them down.
Sources told our correspondents on Thursday that the DSS operatives, who were nine in number, were in two vehicles when they were attacked.
It was gathered that two of the operatives survived the attack and managed to escape from their assailants.
A source said, “The operatives were on a random surveillance of the area; they were not going for an operation as being speculated.
“They were stopped by the vandals and while they were talking to them, they opened fire on the officers and killed about seven of them.
“Two others managed to escape the murderous onslaught and they have given a security report of the situation to their superiors. I am sure the perpetrators will be tracked down, apprehended and made to face the law.”
Our correspondent gathered that some soldiers who visited the community on Thursday could not access the area on account of the security situation on the ground.
It was learnt that the soldiers shelved their plan to enter the community on account of the tense atmosphere.
It was further gathered that the leadership of the DSS had met over the murder of the operatives and a massive operation may soon be launched to track down the suspects.
The service could however not be reached for comment as it had yet to appoint a spokesperson.
However, a source within the DSS in Lagos on Thursday said information had reached them that not all the seven officers that were attacked were dead.
A senior DSS officer, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the agency had established a contact with the vandals and negotiations were ongoing.
The source said, “Nine DSS officers were actually in Ikorodu following a tip-off that the abductors of the wife of the Deputy Managing Director of The SUN were in the area.
“On getting there, the officers were ambushed by the militants and outnumbered. However, two DSS operatives were able to escape.”
The DSS source told our correspondent that President Muhammadu Buhari had been briefed on the matter.
Our correspondent learnt that operatives of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army had cordoned off the affected area with a view to ensuring that no one escaped.
“We cannot say for sure if our men are still alive because we have not been able to speak with them.
“It is also possible that our men have been killed, but the militants are trying to buy time because we have them surrounded.
“We have been ordered not to attack for now,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the Oodua Peoples Congress, has lamented the attack, describing it as condemnable.
The Director of Media and Publicity of the OPC, Yinka Oguntimehin, in a statement made on Thursday, said, “The death of the bright DSS agents, though sad and sorrowful, is a testimony to the fact that the war against pipeline vandals and protection of our common wealth should not be localised within the confine of the regular security agents alone.”
The OPC called on the Federal Government to set up a dual joint action task force which would include the regular security agencies and the socio-cultural group to combat the deadly activities of pipeline vandals in Nigeria.