Operatives attached to the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT thursday rescued four Chinese nationals from the jaws of their kidnappers.
The Chinese were rescued in one of the many camps of the pipeline-vandals -turned kidnappers in Ondo State.
THISDAY gathered that the victims were abducted onboard a fishing trawler within the Lagos waters on Tuesday morning.
A naval source said that while some of the suspects were allegedly recruited from Bayelsa, others were recruited from Warri in Delta state and Igbokoda in Ondo state.
The source alleged that after the gang had been recruited, about 11 of them, they converged in a riverine village in Edo State, from where they boarded a speed boat to Lagos.
The gang headed to Lagos waters from where they monitored the movement of the foreign fishing trawler.
The naval source said as soon as the coast was clear, the suspects went onboard the vessel and ordered her crew members out at gun point.
The source further disclosed took four of the Chinese away in their boat at gun point and they allegedly arrived the militants camp in Igbokoda, Ondo state.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, who confirmed the rescue said the leader of the gang, identified simply as ‘general’ died in a shootout with the naval operatives.
He said the gang came into Lagos in a speed boat around 6.30am, went onboard a Chinese fishing trawler and ordered the four Chinese down from their vessel at gun point.
He said that by evening of same day, the kidnappers were in Igbokoda, Ondo state with the victims.
He said: “Naval operatives attached to Forward Operation Base (FOB) who sighted the kidnappers as they were entering Igbokoda gave them a hot pursuit.
“The kidnappers opened fire on the naval gunboat. There was a fierce gun battle between the suspects and the naval men. The hoodlums abandoned their boats and fled on foot through the creeks.
“The naval men went after them and the suspects abandoned the four Chinese and fled. Presently efforts is ongoing to arrest all the suspects.
“The Chinese sustained bullet wounds during the gun battle. They have been treated and are in stable condition.”
Meanwhile, the Acting Chinese Consoler General, Mr Guan Zhonggi, during a courtesy call on the FOC, thanked the navy for its prompt intervention, noting that the four Chinese who were abducted are free today because of the swift response of the navy.