Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have repelled an attack by “armed hoodlums” inside a forest in Edo State.
The agency said the gunmen prevented the raid of their warehouses in a forest in Opuje community, Owan West LGA of Edo state.
In a statement on Thursday, Femi Babafemi, NDLEA spokesperson, said the agency received credible intelligence that the cartel had stocked its warehouses in the forest with processed psychoactive substances.
He also said the cartel had concluded plans to commence distribution of the substances to various parts of the country ahead of the yuletide season.
The spokesperson said teams of NDLEA officers were then mobilised to enter the forest and block the distribution by destroying the warehouses.
“Some of the warehouses containing about 6,000kgs of cannabis were first taken down in Ujiogba forest in Esan West LGA last weekend,” the statement reads.
“The NDLEA teams however came under gunfire attack in the early hours of Monday 4th December when they approached the Opuje forest after the armed hoodlums had blocked all access roads in the community.
“The NDLEA operatives were able to exit the area after over two hours of gun fight with the armed hoodlums.
“Unfortunately, three of the officers were injured in the attack with one of them shot in the head while some of the vehicles used for the operation were riddled with bullets.
“The affected officers were rushed to the hospital for treatment while the critically injured one had a major surgery on Wednesday 6th December to remove the bullets in his brain.”
Babafemi said the Opuje community is notorious for cannabis cultivation with cartels cultivating cannabis on a large scale and building warehouses inside the forest reserves.
According to the statement, Mohamed Buba Marwa, chief executive officer of the NDLEA, warned that those sponsoring attacks on the operatives would know no rest until they are all brought to book.
He commended the professional conduct of the officers involved in the operation and said the incident will not in any way deter the agency from continuing its ongoing offensive against drug barons and cartels.