Austin Ebipade -Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Police Command has continued to ruminate over the gruesome murder of three policemen in a tug boat that was escorting a barge belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) by dreaded sea pirates operating in the Akassa axis of the Atlantic ocean of the state.
The sea pirates, it was learnt hid inside the mangrove creeks, and as soon as they sighted the police, they opened fire and killed no fewer than three policemen on board the tugboat.
The pirates also seized the tug boat, which is still in their custody in the deep creeks of Brass Island.
Reports have it that the leader of the pirates averred that killing the policemen was a sweet revenge over the killing of some of his gang members by policemen in a gun boat patrol in December, 2013.
Still in shock over the death of their colleagues, the Marine section of the Bayelsa State Police command and the command headquarters has been thrown into mourning.
The Bayelsa State police commissioner, Mr Valentine Ntomchukwu, revealed that the corpses of the three policemen killed by sea pirates last Friday in state had been recovered.
Ntomchukwu said further that the command has launched a manhunt for the gang responsible for the killings and attacks on the waterways.
He reiterated that the dead policemen led by an inspector were escorting a barge belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, along Santa Barbara River when they were attacked.
The Police Commissioner, who was said to be greatly disturbed by the incident, averred that the marine department of the police would be re-invigorated, particularly with high-tech expertise, to be able to overpower the gang of dreaded sea pirates bent on making live unbearable for ‚ÄòBayelsans‚Äô residing in the coastal communities of Akassa and Brass Island of the state.
The sea pirates, who were born in the creeks and have made the mangrove their habitat, through moles got wind of moves by the Police to recover the gun boat and quickly changed their location.
Though the police were able to recover the bodies of the four people killed and the gunboat seized by the sea pirates, they were unable to apprehend the pirates.
A source, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak, said, ‚ÄúSea pirates attacked and killed three of our men. They were escorting Agip barge when they were attacked. We have recovered their bodies and the gunboat. The bodies have been brought to Yenagoa and deposited at the FMC mortuary.‚Äù
The source said the police had deployed marine operatives to the waterways to ensure adequate security for passengers and seafarers.
Spokesman for the police in the state, Mr Alex Akhigbe, could not comment as he was in Abuja for a special seminar, while the acting spokesman, Mr Roland Eboka, said the command would not relent until the perpetrators are brought to book.