Four members of a private security outfit operating in the coastal area of Ese-Odo council in Ondo State have been shot dead while four others were seriously injured during a shoot-out with suspected sea pirates.
During the shoot-out, three members of the suspected sea pirates were also gunned down by members of the outfit. Corpses of two of the three have been recovered while the third was still missing.
The security personnel were engaged to curtail the activities of oil thieves in the oil rich communities in the state.
It was learnt that the suspected pirates killed members of the security outfit who have been challenging their operations in recent times.
Report had it that the suspects, while returning from one of their operations, sighted men of the security personnel at Bolowo junction and opened fire on them thereby killing four on the spot while others were seriously injured.
Speaking on the incident, head of the security outfit, Osaghale Aklugbemen, said the suspects escaped through Oroto-Ajapa road.
He said the suspects invaded the community at about 8am while returning from the Ilaje end of the coastal area of the state where they had gone for an operation.
According to him, his men made several attempts to resist them but were overpowered as they fired on board at their officers.
Chief Executive Officer of the security services firm, Chief Bibopere Ajube, who spoke on the development said the suspects had been terrorizing the coastal area for the past two years.
Ajube said his men arrested some of the hoodlums last year and handed them over to Police officers in Ese-Odo.
The state Police image maker, Wole Ogodo, gave the name of the security officers killed as Elemi Obilu, Alimi Zeblon, Idowu Ajaiba and Ofo Etitan.
Ogodo added that divers were employed to recover the bodies.
He said six of the bodies had so far been recovered, while one has not been found.