Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Unknown gunmen who attacked a helipad belonging to the Nigerian Air Force in Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in the early hours of Sunday also made away with a rifle belonging to the deceased Airman, it was learnt yesterday.
A security source said the hoodlums took advantage of the relaxed surveillance in the area since it was not a major hub of activities of the Airforce, to attack the few personnel around at the time.
It was gathered that an airman on duty at the security post was killed in the attack which occurred after the gunmen reportedly scaled the fence of the helipad.
The unknown assailants, the source added may have also taken into account the fact that the helicopter landing site at Igbogene is surrounded by overgrown vegetation and trees, a situation that made it an easy target for the attack.
Though not a heavy traffic facility, the Igbogene helipad is the preferred landing site for high-profile visitors to Bayelsa, including security chiefs.
Describing the attack as terrible and daring, he said the hoodlums after scaling the fence shot the airman at the security post, conjecturing that they may have been targeting the weapon and not necessarily the deceased security personnel.
â€œThe helipad is surrounded by bush. So it was easy for the gunmen to attack it. When they came, they shot the airman at the security post and took his rifle. When the second airman heard the gunshot, he rushed to the site and saw his colleague lying deadâ€, he added
According to him, security operatives should always be at alert since preparations for the 2019 general elections are in top gear.
â€œActivities for the 2019 elections have started and hoodlums are looking for weapons. This is one of the ways they go about it. Security operatives should increase their level of alertnessâ€, he said.
In a statement confirming the attack, the Director of NAF Public Relations, Air vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, had said the men of the Airforce succeeded in repelling the attackers.
â€œAlthough the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, an airman paid the supreme sacrifice in the process. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has ordered an immediate investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incidentâ€, Adesanya said.