Kenechukwu Madukaife; Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Tragedy struck in Katsina State on Sunday night as some youths perished in a ghastly auto crash involving two vehicles. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Katsina State yesterday confirmed that 11 youths lost their lives in the road accident while celebrating Sallah.
Also, three soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (ODS), and one suspected sea pirate were feared dead in a gun battle on Sunday between the military and suspected sea pirates at Tunu Flow Station in Letugbene community, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Mr. Godwin Ngueku, the Katsina Sector Commander of the FRSC, confirmed the incident yesterday in Katsina. He said that the accident occurred when a Peugeot saloon car transporting the youths had a head-on collision with a tipper truck along the Katsina-Niger Republic highway.
Ngueku said: “The accident happened about 8pm along the Katsina-Niger Republic international road. All the occupants of the Peugeot saloon car died at the scene of the accident.
“The corpses were evacuated to the Katsina General Hospital mortuary at 9pm on Sunday evening. The family members of the victims have started picking the corpses for burial.”
The sector commander appealed to parents to caution their children against reckless drinking and driving along the highways.
It was gathered that there were several minor road accidents during the Sallah celebration in the state.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa shoot-out occurred when the soldiers repelled an attack by the suspected pirates, who had come in two speedboats to attack the flow station owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and to steal arms and ammunition belonging to the military.
Community sources said three soldiers are still missing after the gun duel and the body of one of the suspected sea pirates was found floating on the river.
A security source, who explained that the three soldiers could not be said to have died until their bodies were found, said there was a manhunt for the bandits that attacked the flow station.
“The soldiers were deployed to guard the SPDC flow station in the area. They engaged the youths in a shootout while trying to stop an invasion of the flow station,” he said.
Sources at the ODS headquarters in Igbogene said the incident is being investigated before a statement could be made.
Similarly, an unidentified female member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was raped by a gang of robbers in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that the robbers, who were engaged in house-to-house robbery at Yenizue Gene, a suburb of Yenagoa, attacked the corps member’s apartment located in the area on Sunday morning.
The three robbers stormed the area at about 3am and fired several gunshots into the air to scare away a vigilance group, whose members were only bearing sticks and cutlasses.
They were said to have robbed the victim of her mobile phone, cash and other valuables and later raped her.
There has been an upsurge of crime in Yenagoa due to the total blackout the capital city has been subjected to by the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC).
The state police public relations officer, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident and said that three robbers were involved in the crime. He said the traumatised corps member reported the matter to the police station, including the way the hoodlums took turns on her.
Butswat noted that the victim also made useful statement on the identity of the robbers.