Confusion now pervades the coastal community of Ke-clan, Degema in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State following the discovery of 11 yet-to-be identified corpses allegedly abandoned in a boat at the new Jerusalem Creek, close to Ke Clan.
The victims were suspected to have been killed by pirates operating along the waterways in the area. With frequent reports of sea pirates’ attacks on seafarers in the waterways in that area on the increase, the communities have denied knowledge of what went on around those creeks.
MarsecNews:Security sources in the region reported that Nigerian security assets were patrolling the Ke waterways on December 1st at around 1530 hours when they engaged pirates in three speedboats. Following the incident, the pirates escaped in two boats, leaving a third. On inspection, the security team found 11 dead bodies and one AK-47 in the boat. The bodies are believed to belong to local boat passengers, but this has yet to be confirmed. It’s certainly one of the most grisly discoveries in recent years in the Delta and will likely lead to an increased military presence.
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) Dr George Muoghalu, said the authority is engaging security agencies, especially the Nigerian Navy to play the expected role of ensuring that the waterways are secured and safe for use.
He also said the Authority was working hard to ensure that the 10000 kilometers waterways are all year round navigated.
Bakana Boat Drivers Union, an umbrella body of boat operators in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers state, has called on the state government to deploy Navy and Marine police to waterways as a way of curbing sea piracy in the state.
Chairman of the union, Alabo Benson Yellow, made the appeal while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt on the recent boat attack that led to the killing of three passengers at Bille Jetty by pirates, at the weekend.
N the last one month, sea robbers have unleashed terror on passenger speed boats plying the Bonny, Okrika, Bille, Andoni, Kula and Ogoni river waterways in Rivers State, killing security operatives in the process and carting away personal belongings of boat passengers, including taking away boat engines during such attacks.
Disclosing this to Tribune Online on Wednesday via telephone interview, a member of the Trustee of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Harry White wondered what has happened to gunboats that were recently procured by the Rivers State government to tackle maritime crimes.
Concerned indigenes of Bonny under the aegis of Bonny Stakeholders Vanguard (BSV) have threatened to shut down movement, and boat shuttles of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) should the deplorable security situation in Bonny Island continue unabated, without security intervention.
The group who gave this indication has also accused security agencies especially the Police, Marine Police and Navy of complicity in protecting perpetrators of crime and violence on the Island.