Gunmen, suspected to be sea pirates, have murdered two policemen and an operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Bayelsa State.
The incident reportedly occurred on Friday night on the Ekebiri waterways of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
The sea pirates, it was learnt, lay in wait in a concealed position in Ekebiri creek and opened fire on sighting the patrol team comprising policemen and civil defenders.
The victims, who were said to be members of an anti-vandals’ team, were reportedly on a routine patrol when the gunmen attacked them.
The gunmen were said to have snatched the rifles of their victims, whose bodies were later recovered by divers.
The deceased NSCDC personnel identified as Sango Potipher, was said to be an indigene of Okpotuari community of Southern Ijaw.
Sources said the security operatives were patrolling the Tebidaba Flow Station when they came under the surprise attack about 7pm.
A top security source from the community, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said “While on patrol at Tebidaba area in Southern Ijaw, the combined team of NSCDC was ambushed.
“There was a fierce gun battle between the security operatives and the gunmen. But a personnel of the NSCDC was killed while two policemen were killed. The rifles of the victims were carted away by the hoodlums.”
The source also said that some other security operatives sustained injuries during the attack.
Another security source, who equally craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said when the sad news filtered in about 9pm, they quickly dispatched security surveillance to the area.
He stated, “The news got to us at about 9pm. When we dispatched our security surveillance team to the area, we saw a military gunboat with some NSCDC personel that escaped the attack.
“They recovered the corpses of the killed security personel without their rifles. The unknown gunmen had taken their guns.”
When contacted, the Bayelsa State Commandant, NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, confirmed the incident.
Agu said investigations were ongoing to arrest the perpetrators (killers) of the security personnel.
Confirming the incident, the spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said one policeman, one NSCDC operative and one civilian were shot dead by the sea pirates.
He also said that one policeman was still missing after the attack.
Butswat stated, ” On September 22, 2017, at about 1845hours, a tugboat towing a barge with a combined team of policemen from the Nigerian Inland Waterways, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and civilians on board was attacked by suspected sea pirates at Ekebiri waterways in Southern Ijaw.
”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. The corpes have been deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, for autopsy.
”A search party has been deployed for the missing policeman. All security operatives in Southern Ijaw LGA have been alerted and efforts are ongoing to arrest the culprits.”
It will be recalled that unknown gunmen, suspected to be militants, ambushed and killed four soldiers and a civilian in Bayelsa State in August.
The suspects were said to have laid an ambush for the soldiers along the waterways of Letugbene in Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa.