Pirates hijack military gun boat, takes 3, hostage

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ZAINAB KURE, SENATE COMMITTEE ON MARINE TRANSPORT

Recent claim by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) at its world press conference, that piracy in Nigerian water was now a thing of the past may have severely infuriated dare devil pirates who at the weekend, allegedly hijacked a military gun boat, and also took three soldiers hostage; going by reports from Maritime Hub.

NIMASA DG Patrick Akpobolokemi
NIMASA DG Patrick Akpobolokemi

The Hub also posited that the pirates few weeks back had similarly initiated an attack in which some Nigerians were killed.

“Nigeria’s military says pirates hijacked a military gunboat and three soldiers are missing after the ambush in the southern oil-rich state of Bayelsa.

“Spokesman Col. Mustapha Anka says a team on patrol was ambushed Sunday on the Santa Barbara River, an area rife with pirates.

“Anka said a search-and-rescue operation is continuing Tuesday to locate the missing soldiers.

“In October, pirates on the same river attacked a military escort for a barge carrying oil. They killed three soldiers and took off with a military gunboat.
Pirates in Nigeria steal oil and also kidnap for ransom”, the report concluded.

It would be recalled that the Agency boss had gleefully announced last week at Eko Hotel, Lagos, during a world press conference that NIMASA’s installations of satellite technology and the optimal harnessing of personnel had finally eliminated piracy and every form of ship hijack in Nigerian waters.

“It is now very difficult for anybody to attempt a hijack or piracy incidents around the Nigerian maritime domain successfully as the Agency will get the intelligence before the attack is even launched.

“I challenge anyone of you here who can mention one hijack of a ship that has occurred in the last one year between the Lagos waters and Republic of Benin. Remember Nigeria controls about 60 per cent of maritime traffic in West Africa, do you think it is by coincidence or that the criminals just repented and this was not planned?”, the DG asked, refuting recent reports of alleged acquisitions of warships and gun boats.

Efforts to obtain the agency’s reaction was unsuccessful, as text messages sent to NIMASA Deputy Director, Public Relations, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi was not responded to.

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