Armed pirates attacked the Nigerian Marine Police Armoury in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday, seizing a large cache of weapons, police and sources said.
The attackers struck at the marine base located along Marina road, Calabar, and took away two gun boats and other weapons.
The hoodlums operated unchallenged for nearly two hours, killing at least one police officer and a private security man, according to unnamed officials.
One witness said two officers were killed.
A private security personnel with a popular church within the area, who simply identified himself as Ofonmbuk, said his colleague was killed by the invaders.
“I survived by the grace of God,” he said, “I had to sleep under the gutter when I saw my colleague hit by a bullet. The pirates used a superior fire power that the police could not stand them.”
The operation caused panic among residents within the riverine area.
It took the intervention of the Nigerian Navy before the pirates could be dislodged, witnesses said.
The pirates, according to a source, “came through the Calabar River in two speed boats, while some came with a bus and strategically positioned themselves along the routes leading to the armoury. It was until the Navy came and engaged them; that was when the pirates ran away.”
The police spokesman for Cross River State, Hogan Bassey, confirmed the incident, but denied that two personnel were killed.
“Yes I can confirm there was an attack early this morning and a police man was killed.
“We are investigating the matter and hope to get to the root of it, we will make sure they are arrested and made to face the law,” he said.
In a separate development, gunmen suspected to be sea pirates on Saturday shot and killed a naval officer in Akassa, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
It was learnt that the gunmen, numbering about three, opened fire on a Navy crew on a routine checkpoint in the Akassa area of the state.
The gunmen reportedly zoomed off into the creeks after killing the naval officer.
The remains of the unnamed naval officer, who is said to be working at the Forward Operating Base, Formoso, had been recovered and deposited at an unnamed morgue in Brass.
Activities of pirates on the waterways of Bayelsa State have been on the increase in recent times.
Naval authorities were yet to confirm the incident as at the time of writing this report.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.