TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Gunmen suspected to be sea pirates in military camouflage have attacked two passenger-speedboats in Bille community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Our correspondent gathered that occupants of the boats, who were travelling to Port Harcourt were held hostage for several hours on Monday.
It was further learnt that the fully-armed criminals carted away the victims’ property and the boat conveying them to Port Harcourt, and later abandoned them (travellers) in the mangroves.
Community sources have raised the alarm that there has been an increase in the activities of sea pirates in the area.
A source, who simply gave his name as Emmanuel, alleged that recent incidents occurred on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The source said: “Recently, there have been heightened sea pirates’ attacks on passenger boats plying the Bille – Port Harcourt route.
“The new wave of attacks began last Saturday, June 1, June 2, 2019. On Saturday, they took a boat after dropping off the passengers on the sea.
“They were, however, unlucky as the passenger’s boat escaped.
The climax was on Monday, along New Calabar River, where five fully-loaded Port Harcourt-bound speedboats on a convoy were attacked by heavily-armed sea pirates in military camouflage,” he stated.
The source noted that no life was lost, but that the attackers succeeded in taking away two of the speedboats and valuables of all the passengers.
According to Emmanuel, some of the travellers sustained bullet wounds from the hoodlums.
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, told journalists that the police were aware of the development.
He added that the officer in charge of Marine Operations got the information and mobilised to the area.
Omoni said: “We got the report from the O/C Marine. On arrival of the police to the scene, the hoodlums took flight. We have done security deployment to cover the waterways.”