Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
At least eight persons have been abducted along the Atlantic Ocean, off the waterways of Brass local council, Bayelsa State, after they were waylaid by their assailants.
However, it was learnt that troops attached to the Nigerian Navy in the Niger Delta are already making frantic efforts to locate the whereabouts of the eight sailors who are all Nigerian nationals.
Those kidnapped by the gang were identified as Smart Kungborde, Isaiah Ebiewe, Christopher Wisben, Gabriel Enayon, Sylvester Ovwigho, Mathew Enegbuma and Kelly Shaka and one other.
All the victims, said to be staff members of Tethys Nig. Ltd and Sylver Global Ltd, were reportedly picked up at about 17 nautical miles off the Brass terminal.
The company is said to be an indigenous Diving and Marine Contracting firm which provides technical services in the areas of underwater engineering, diving operations, marine transportation and offshore construction.
The unidentified gunmen were said to have forcefully boarded the vessel after firing gunshots in the air to instil fear in the victims.
The abductors were said to have stolen all their victimsâ€™ valuables, hounded them into their speedboats and driven them to an unknown place.
It was, however, gathered that troops of the Forward Operation Base (FOB) Fomoso at Egweama in Brass were making some efforts to free the eight men.
There was no official statement from naval authorities in the state yesterday, neither were they willing to make any comments on the kidnap incident, but a senior security source, who spoke in confidence, confirmed the development and said the victims were still being held by the kidnappers.
He added that the security operatives designated to deal with the matter had already started work, giving the difficult terrain as reason for the difficulty in locating the captors and their victims.
However, it was gathered that the case had become even more sensitive because the affected vessel belongs to a highly-placed politician and retired senior naval officer from the state.
But the politician, working closely with the management of the company was said to have already established contacts with the gunmen and had gone far in negotiation for a ransom to free the victims.