Undisclosed number of pirates were feared killed on Wednesday in a gun battle with police in Bayelsa State.
It was learnt that pirates numbering five had attacked the policemen guarding Gbarain oil rig in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
The pirates were said to have stormed the rig owned by Shell Petroleum Development Company but operated by Lone Star Drilling Company about 2am on Wednesday.
A community source, who gave his name only as Preye, said as soon as the suspected pirates approached the Shell facility, they opened fire.
Preye said the pirates had thought the policemen guarding the rig might have slept.
He said their main target was to remove the weapons attached to a gunboat used for protecting the rig.
The source, however, said the policemen on duty, who had taken strategic positions, fired a volley of bullets and they were repelled.
He said some pirates were hit by police bullets, noting that they might have been killed.
He said in the next few days, if the pirates had actually died, their bodies would float on the waters.
He said, ‚ÄúThe pirates had come with the intention to remove the weapons, very sophisticated ones, on the gunboat.
They came with generator and electric filing which they intended to use to remove the weapons if they had succeeded in their operation. Unfortunately, they were repelled by the policemen guarding the rig.
‚ÄúIn fact I was proud of the way the police were able to repel them. I think that will send signal to others that it is no longer business as usual.‚Äù
It was also gathered that despite the fact that some of the pirates were feared killed, those who managed to escape the 2am onslaught had allegedly come back with another set as reinforcements at 6 am.
It was further gathered that the policemen, who were still on duty, engaged them in another round of gun duel, forcing the pirates to abandon the rig.
After the encounter, two policemen were said to have sustained minor injuries.
When contacted, Bayelsa Police Commissioner, Hilary Opara confirmed the incident.
Opara said the pirates had attacked the rig at Gbarain with the intention of severing the chain used to secure the gunboat to remove the weapons on the gunboat.
The commissioner said the incident took place in the wee hours of Wednesday, stressing that the suspected pirates who came in a speedboat opened fire on his men.
He said the attack was repelled by the policemen after displaying superior gunpowder.
Opara could not confirm if any of the pirates died, he however said if such happened, in no distant time, their bodies would surely float on the waters.
Opara added, ‚ÄúThe pirates came with electric filing and a generator. Their aim of coming with those tools was to use the electric filing to fire the machine that would be used to severe the chain used for securing the gunboat to the rig.
‚ÄúUnfortunately, the policemen attached to the rig were there. After serious exchange of fire, the pirates abandoned the rig. The pirates again came back around 6 am, probably thinking our men had gone. When they sighted our men, they ran back and some swam in the river to escape.‚Äù