6 February, 2013
Four persons, including two soldiers, a retired naval officer and the pilot of an oceangoing tugboat were yesterday killed during a gun battle between men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and pirates in Bayelsa State. The pirates were said to have ambushed the barge they were escorting along the River Forcados at Angiama community in the state.
The spokesman for the JTF in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the incident Tuesday. THISDAY gathered that in the ensuing battle, two other soldiers sustained serious injuries, while three of the pirates also sustained serious injuries even as they were dragged away by their colleagues when they made good their escape. One of the boat personnel was declared missing.
The military could not give immediate reasons for the attack as the tugboat and the barge which they were escorting were said to be empty at the time of the attack. The boat was said to belong to an oil servicing company, Sterling Global Oil Services Limited and had set sail from Warri and headed for Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital when it was attacked. The military men were said to have run into an ambush mounted by suspected sea pirates along the Angiama-Etelibiri waterways of Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Following the attack, the JTF yesterday deployed five gunboats in a desperate move to apprehend the killers even as security alert was heightened in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Said Nwachukwu: “I can confirm that some of our troops on board a Sterling Global Oil Resources Limited tugboat ran into an ambush along the Angiama- Etelibiri waterways of Sagbama Local Government Area of the state today;there was a shoot-out between the unknown gunmen and our troops. Two of our men lost their lives and two other civilians were injured.”
Nwachukwu also confirmed the fatal injuries to three of the unidentified gunmen and the deployment of troops to the area and were on the trail of the unidentified gunmen.