By Nathan Nwakamma
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.
An oil services vessel with a combined team of security escort on board and civilians was attacked on Friday by suspected sea pirates at Ekebiri Waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two of the victims of the incident which occurred on Friday were security escorts and a civilian crew member of the tugboat towing a vessel.
Mr Asinim Butswat, Police Public Relations Officer for Bayelsa Command who confirmed the incident said that 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.
He further said the remains of the victims had been recovered and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Mortuary, Yenagoa, for autopsy.
According to him, 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.