26 October 2014, Yenagoa – Fear has heightened along the creek of Bayelsa State as suspected sea pirates have reportedly abducted six oil workers and four policemen in Nembe council area of the state.
The attacks, it was learnt, were carried out separately in the troubled creek, where armed pirates have been terrorizing passengers boats.
The gunmen, according to report, seized a gunboat on Friday belonging to the marine component of the Nigeria Police Force at about 1.30pm.
The gunboat, it was learnt, was escorting a barge owned by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) when it came under attack.
The hoodlums, who were operating in a speedboat, were said to have laid ambush for the gunboat and opened fire on the policemen.
The policemen were reportedly caught unaware by the pirates who took control of the gunboat.
The incident, which according to sources, occurred along Santa Barbara and Nembe waterways caused panic among travellers, many of whom were forced to delay their trip for fear of running into the hoodlums.
Most of the travellers were said to be heading to Okpoama on the Atlantic fringe of Brass council area for the funeral of former Governor Tmipre Sylva’s uncle.
Others were forced to wait at Ogbia jetty until they got information that the route was safe before they embarked on their trip.
A security source said three policemen and the gunboat operator were kidnapped after the gunmen seize control of the boat.
“Policemen escorting Agip barge were attacked on Friday. The gunboat and the policemen were all taken away. The policemen were three including the driver of the boat making them four.
“The barge and its occupants escaped because the gunboat was the target of the pirates. This incident happened along Santa Barbara and Nembe route at about 1.30pm. The pirates were after the gunboat and the police arms,” said a security source who pleaded anonymity.
The source also confirmed that six persons working for a company identified as Icon Xearex were abducted at Oluasiri in Nembe in a separate incident.
He sad the pirates attacked a boat owned by the company in the early hours of Friday and took the workers away.
“There was another incident at Oluasiri. As a matter of fact six persons were kidnapped. They were in a boat called Icon Xeareax. Six persons were abducted from the boat belonging to that company. The company is suspected to be an oil-servicing company”, he said.
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, said he was in Abuja for a programme.
*Samuel Oyadongha – Vanguard