Four marine police officers have been killed by suspected sea pirates in Rivers State in south-south Nigeria, residents of a community in the Niger Delta said.
The incident followed the purported hijack of a gunboat with the policemen on board abducted in Abonnema waterways in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A community source said the gunboat left Abonnema Wharf Jetty for a routine patrol when it was attacked by the suspected armed militants on Sunday.
One of the corpse was seen floating on Monday with gunshot wounds after the other three had been recovered earlier, with the gunboat missing, the source said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, DSP Nnamdi Omoni told Channels Television that the command had begun compiling its report.
However, the police authority in the state is yet to issue an official statement on the incident as at the time of this report.
This is coming after the military in the region, in operations to end the attacks of militants on oil installations, suffered a setback, losing some officials in a boat mishap.
A boat carrying the officials capsized and efforts to rescue them was hampered by high tides, some residents of the community that came to rescue the officials said.
The military has launched two operations in the region – Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile – to quell resurgence of militancy in the region that holds the nation’s wealth.
However, splinter groups have continued to emerge even after a group that has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks on oil facilities said it has agreed to ceasefire and begin negotiation with the Federal Government.