Sea robbers on Tuesday evening around 6.45pm attacked about 18 fishing boats and seized outboard engines, fishing nets, fish, and other equipment along Ibeno high seas, Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
The sea robbers, who were said to be 18 in number, launched the attacks from three speed boats.
It was learnt that no life was lost, although many of the fishermen sustained injuries as they tried to resist the assailants.
Chairman, Nigerian Artisan Fishermen Association, Samuel Ayadi, while speaking on the incident in Mkpanak, Ibeno on Wednesday said the robbers accosted the fishermen at the high sea while they were returning with the day’s catch.
He said the robbers, who were armed with sophisticated weapons, shot at one of the fishermen, who attempted to challenge them. He added that the fisherman escaped death as the assailants’ bullet missed him by a whisker.
“The pirates attacked 18 boats, removed the outboard engines and took away fishing accessories and all the fishes my people caught for the day,” he said.
He lamented that the robbery incident would exacerbate the already bad situation of fish scarcity in the state.
He added that he would instruct his members to stay away from sea if the authorities responsible for protecting lives and property of fishermen did not do anything about the latest attacks.
He called on the combined marine patrol teams of the Nigerian Navy and Nigeria Police to rid Ibeno waterways of criminal elements, saying their unending criminal activities were likely to crumble fishing activities in the area.
The Obong Mkparawa One of the area, Mr. Friday Ebong, said the attacks on the fishermen were barbaric, and called on relevant authorities to curb the menace.
He said the continued attacks on and restiveness of fishermen along Ibeno waterways would hinder economic activities of the area as most youths are fishermen and women.
Divisional Police Officer of Ibeno Police Division, Sylvester Monday, said the incident had not been officially reported at the divisional headquarters, though he claimed to have heard of the attack.
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