Yenagoa, Nigeria. Sept 23: Mr Asinim Butswat, Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command says an oil services vessel with a combined team of security escort on board and civilians was attacked yesterday, Friday, by sea pirates at Ekebiri Waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa in the Niger Delta. Two of the victims of the Niger Delta militants were security escorts and a civilian crew member of the tugboat towing a vessel.
Mr Asinim Butswat said one police operative was still missing as his remains has yet to be recovered. He said a response team dispatched to the crime scene rescued eight occupants of the ill-fated boat while efforts are underway to arrest the suspected armed men.
“On Sept. 22, at about 18.45hrs, a Tugboat, towing a Barge with a combined team of policemen from the Nigerian Inland Waterways, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and civilians on board was attacked by suspected sea pirates. The incident took place at Ekebiri Waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa. A reinforced team arrived shortly and rescued one policeman, three NSCDC personnel and four civilians. However, a policeman, one NSCDC personnel and a civilian were shot dead by the sea pirates; one policeman is still missing,’’ Butswat said.
Photo: Niger Delta militants
Asinim Butswat further said the remains of the victims had been recovered and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Mortuary, Yenagoa, for autopsy.
According to Asinim Butswat, a search party has been deployed to find the missing policeman while all security operatives in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area have been alerted, while efforts are ongoing to arrest the culprits.
This is barely three weeks after an ambush on a military houseboat that killed two in Southern Ijaw creeks in Bayelsa, suspected militants have attacked a tugboat in the same area and killed three crew members.
Suspected Niger Delta militants had on Aug. 28 ambushed a houseboat operated by the Joint Task Force and killed a soldier and a civilian crew member.