Pirates numbering over 12 on Wednesday in Mbo high seas, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, stole two passenger boats and injured many passengers.
The pirates were said to have attacked the boats which were on their way to Ute Iyata from Ibaka in Mbo LGA. The driver of one of the boats, Mr. Bassey Effiong, said the pirates attacked them as they approached Ute Iyata.
Effiong stated that the assailants fired sporadically into the air as they mounted his boat. He added that they robbed and inflicted machete cuts on some passengers before pushing them out of the boat near the seashore, while they escaped with the boat.
He said, “I lost my boat and its outboard engine to over 12 pirates. They attacked us midway to Ute Iyata and shot into the air and in our direction. Bullets were just coming from every direction.
“As they reached us, they jumped into our boat, beat and inflicted injury on us. They stole the passengers’ cash, bags, and other valuable items before pushing them into the seashore. They then fled with our boat and its engine.”
The owner of the boat, Mr. Bassey Effa, aka Motion, attributed the increase in pirate activities to government’s lack of commitment in protecting the lives and property of its citizens.
He stated that the boat operators had made repeated calls to government to strengthen security in the areas, but had not seen results.
The owner and driver of the second boat, Mr. Sunday Etim, said he bought the boat three weeks ago.
An indigene of Enwang in Mbo LGA, Etim said he would have preferred that the pirates took him away than rob him of his means of livelihood, leaving him in huge debt.
“With no work for me to do now, where will I get the money to pay those I collected the money from to buy the boat and its outboard engine?
“What I am thinking of now is how to take care of my immediate family.”
He stated that the pirates had spread to all nooks and crannies of Mbo creeks and seas and that it would be difficult for anyone to do business on the seas.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Etim Dickson, said the issue had not been reported to the police.
He said, “The incident was not reported to the police. Victims should always report incidents to the police before going to the press.”