Navy arrests suspected sea robbers in Rivers

Navy impounds 900 bags of smuggled rice, arrests 4 suspects
Written by Maritime First

…As Germany’s efforts to deport over 600 migrants fails***

The Nigerian Navy has arrested four suspected members of Debam, a notorious cult group, said to be robbing sea travellers of their valuables in Rivers State.

The Base Operation Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder (NNS), Port Harcourt, Cdr. Ikenna Okoloagu paraded the four suspected cultists on Thursday to newsmen, saying the suspects were arrested by a naval patrol team deployed to end killings and other criminal activities in its host community of Rumuolumeni.

“This decision to heighten our security patrol follows the recent spate of reported killings in Rumuolumeni community and other forms of criminality in the state.

“The patrol team was tasked with the responsibility to ensure a safe, secure and peaceful atmosphere within the state.

“So, in the course of the patrols, on Aug. 8 at about 0845 hours, the base patrol element arrested four suspected sea robbers and members of the dreaded Debam cult group,’’ he said.

The officer said that the suspects were apprehended at their hideout at Iwofe waterfront with a locally made pistol and four live cartridges found in their possession.

“Additionally, controlled and banned substances such as cannabis (Indian hemp) and tramadol were found in their possession.

“The suspects were immediately brought in for questioning and they later confessed to being members of the Debam cult group.

“They are hereby being handed over to the police,” he said.

Okoloagu said the hand over to the police was done in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures that spelled out roles for security agencies in combating illegalities in the oil and gas sector.

Speaking, one of the suspects who insisted that he has never killed anyone before, admitted to the crime and pleaded for leniency, stating that he was recruited into Debam cult by a friend when he was 19 years.

“I joined the group when I was in my Senior Secondary Three level at Community Secondary School, Rumuolumeni,  in 2015.

“Immediately, I joined Debam, I started saving money and later bought the gun (locally made pistol) for N15,000 for my protection.

“The gun is mine but I have not shot or killed anybody with it,” the 22-year-old said.

Lekum claimed they worked for an unnamed chairman of the National Union of Iwofe who directed them to collect levies from those engaging in illegal oil bunkering in the area.

Meanwhile, Germany has failed in its bid to effect more than 600 deportations this year, owing to what the German Government credited to resistance by the migrants in question.

The authorities indicated this in a document released on Thursday, noting that there is already a three-fold increase on the same period in 2017.

The information delivered by the far-left Die Linke party showed that, out of the 641 deportations that failed due to some form of resistance, 141 failed because migrants cited medical conditions.

The remainder failed because the migrants resisted on other grounds.

200 other deportations failed because pilots or airlines refused to take the migrants back to their countries of origin and seven failed because the countries refused entry.

Ulla Jelpke, the Head of Die Linke’s Parliamentary group, said the dramatic rise in resistance on the part of migrants was due to the “increasing brutality of deportation policies’’.

Unannounced deportations, even after migrants have lived in Germany for several years, are causing them to fight back, Jelpke said.

A total of 12,261 deportations have taken place so far this year, a slight decrease on the same period in 2017, when 12,565 were sent back to their countries of origin.


About the author

Maritime First