Four sea pirates were shot dead on Monday in a shootout with military personnel attached to the Niger Delta Task Force – Operation Pulo Shield (OPS) in Kperegbene along the Ogbia-Nembe waterways in Bayelsa State.

One soldier was shot in the leg during the gun battle that lasted over twenty-five minutes.

An eyewitness said that the military team was attacked at about 1:30pm on Monday by the suspected pirates while on their way to a security assignment.

The source declared that the attack was an ambush.

“It was an ambush but the soldiers repelled the attack. They replied fire for fire and even wounded some of the gunmen. But one of the soldiers, a private, was also wounded.”

Minutes after the bloody confrontation with military personnel, the pirates attacked a commercial boat conveying traders to Kaa in Khana, Rivers State. The gunmen reportedly shot and killed two of the traders and injured a child and the driver of the commercial boat.

The travelers were said to have left Bonny Island in Bonny Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State for Kaa when their boat came under attack. A source who lives on Bonny Island said the gunmen laid ambush and tried in vain to stop the vessel.

“The boat had a 200 horse power engine. So the driver, on sighting the gunmen, sped off. The gunmen chased the boat but could not catch up with it. They opened fire on the boat, killed two persons and injured the driver and a kid in the boat. The injured people are in a critical condition. The driver managed to bring the boat to Kaa,” the source said.

Confirming the development, the Coordinator of the Joint Coordinating Centre of the OPS, Colonel Isa Ado, said although the incident occurred close to the Obama station in Nembe LGA “the troops, during a routine security patrol, came across some suspected sea pirates in 200 horsepower boats. The suspects attempted to escape but our men engaged them.

“It was not an ambush on our men. Our troops opened fire and the sea pirates retaliated. The firepower of our troops with two gunboats overwhelmed them and they escaped into the creeks. They took their injured away. Four of the pirates were seen shot and they went away with the bodies. Their boats were badly damaged,” the colonel said.

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