Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
At least four policemen were killed while several others were injured in the early hours of yesterday when suspected militants attacked a marine police base in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that though the target of the hoodlums was to forcibly take away the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) in the base, the resistance by policemen on duty during the attack deterred them.
When the gunfight which took place from between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. subsided, the police said the bodies were recovered, while the injured were taken to the hospital.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Asuquo Amba, who confirmed the attack , however noted that only two policemen were killed, while one was injured.
He added that the attackers were pirates, maintaining that though the police could not ascertain the number of casualties on the part of the hoodlums, they were able to run away with several of their gang members who were killed or injured from their side.
He said: “At about 002 hours of the morning, some unknown suspected sea pirates that came in with two boats from different directions attacked our men that were anchored at marine base at Ogbia and obviously there was a lot of exchange of fire. We tried to be as defensive as possible.
“In the course of that, we lost two policemen who were shot in action and they were able to make away with two of our riffles and a 200 horsepower engine belonging to the Ogbia Local Government Area.”
According to him, the men on duty fought hard to repel the attack, although they recorded casualties.
“To show you the extent of exchange of firing at the scene, we were able to recover a G3 magazine, which was used by them with 17 live ammunition and 18 expended ammunition. The firing was not from one direction.
“It was through separate direction. Prior to this time, we had secured our GPMG gun which I think was one of the main thing they were looking for. Their direction was seriously on that but we were able to secure that.
“So, they could not steal it and that was why we lost two police officers in action and the officer that led the team, an ASP was equally injured and is recovering. That is the activities of the sea pirates. For a while we have been able to curtail but it is really rearing its head again. We have appealed to our sister agencies to help”, he added.
Asuquo vowed to ensure that the area of responsibility of the police remains secure, insisting that the criminals were fighting back because they were under severe heat.
“We are all out to ensure that these pirates are checked. We have intelligence report that they are trying to increase their activities to sabotage the efforts of the government to secure the highway.
“This is a recent development and it has given us a cause to sit up. We will re-strategise and secure our base and the water areas.
“I am sure they must have run away with their casualties. As at 2a.m., I, the DC OPS and AC OPS and other intelligence outfit were around the vicinity and we have spread our dragnets. We have informed other security agencies and all efforts are being made to apprehend the suspects,” he noted.