segun James in Yenagoa.
*Five PDP chieftains, others kidnapped.
Barely 24 hours to Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections, suspected pirates have attacked a passenger boat conveying five aides to the Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Chief Sam Ateki along the waterways of Brass in Brass Local Government Area of the State. The whereabouts of the men is still unknown as at press time.
However, while two other boats were successfully attacked and their passengers abducted, the boat conveying the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Tare Akonno escaped pirates due to quick information from a woman fishing in the area.
The victims of the attack and the aides of the Deputy Speaker were heading to Twon Brass to participate in today’s State House of Assembly election! When the attack took place.
The Brass axis of the Bayelsa waterways is notorious for pirate activities and the den for all types of criminal activities including crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and illegal refining of crude oil.
“The pirates were heavily armed and shot sporadically to scare the boat driver. The boat was filled with passengers made up of members of the Twon Brass PDP and aides to the Deputy Speaker,” an eyewitness who escaped the attack told newsmen on Friday.
Although it could not be confirmed if the attack was political, THISDAY gathered that men of the Nigerian Armed Forces have, under the auspices of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Pulo Shield, promised to patrol the waterways so that the people can go home to rural communities to exercise their franchise.
Comrade Akonno who confirmed that the boat conveying him to Brass escaped narrowly due to the quick alert from a fisher woman along the troubled waters, said: “When she saw our boat moving to the site of the attack, she quickly informed us and we turned back and hid at Okoroma community until after the pirates’ operation.”
Contacted, the State Police Command’s spokesperson, ASP Asinim Butswat confirmed the attack on the passenger boats, but denied that the PDP chieftains were abducted.
“Yes, it was a case of piracy attack, but no life was lost. The pirates only dispossessed their victims of mobile phones, cash and other personal effects. They were not kidnapped and were coming from the Brass.”
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