Pirates kill 3 soldiers, snatch gunboat in Bayelsa

Heavily armed pirates on Monday attacked a military checkpoint at Tombi waterside in Nembe, a coastal community in Bayelsa East Senatorial district, Bayelsa State, killing three soldiers.

The military has confirmed the attack and death of the soldiers.

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered that the pirates, who caught the soldiers unawares struck at about 10.00 am. They made away with a gunboat and two rifles belonging to the military.

The incident caused panic in the coastal area as residents deserted their homes for fear of reprisal attack by the military.

The bandits had stormed the checkpoint in an SUV and opened fire on the soldiers, carting away their arms. While some of them fled with the vehicle by road, others disappeared into the creeks with the gunboat.

The Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS), on Monday said it would henceforth go on the offensive to fish out militants operating in the creeks of the Niger Delta.

The JTF in a statement signed by the acting Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC), Lt. Col. A. Ahmed, also confirmed that some suspected gunmen believed to be militants attacked 343 Artillery Regiment, a detachment of ODS, at Nembe jetty.

The statement said, “Some suspected gunmen believed to be militants at about 10:00am on August 8, 2016 attacked 343 Artillery Regiment, a detachment of Operation Delta S, deployed at Nembe Jetty in Bayelsa State.

“During the incident, three soldiers lost their lives. The Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, has consequently deployed reinforcement team to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

“He further warned that henceforth, Operation Delta Safe will go on offensive to fish out all criminals in the region.

“It should be noted that the attack by militants is as a result of the ongoing operations of the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, aimed at flushing out all forms of criminality especially pipeline vandalism and destruction of illegal refinery within the region.

“The Command wishes to assure law abiding public particularly the Nembe Community that Operation Delta Safe is mandated to ensure conducive and safe water ways for legitimate businesses in the Joint Operation Areas.”

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