Four suspected sea pirates who specialised in terrorising fishermen in Ibeno waterways, Akwa Ibom state has been killed in gun battle with marine police.
Spokesperson of the command, SP Macdon Odiko, who confirmed this on Friday, said that the heavily armed pirates engaged a team of the ‘Special Force Squad’ in a fierce gun battle during a routine security patrol in the waterways on Thurday, March 4.
“The story is true but I will soon issue a press statement to that effect,” Odiko said.
Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Council, Williams Mkpa, who also confirmed the killing of the pirates, commended members of the Special Force for displaying professionalism, adding that piracy had been a major problem hindering fishing business and other economic activities in Ibeno.
Mkpah frowned at the poor standard of living in Ibeno and the exorbitant rate which fish, crafish and other seafoods are now sold in there. He emphasized that he cannot be a Local Government Chairman and sit back to watch his people suffer without taking bold and proactive steps to ameliorate their suffering.
“Our farmyard is the water. Once you take away our farmyard from us, it means we cannot function again, it means you have taken away occupation of Ibeno people and indirectly killing us,” Mkpah stated.
“We have suffered enough in the hands of Sea Pirates. They will attack our people, sieze their boats and engines and would demand for ransom amounting to several Millions of naira before you can get back your boat and engines. Sometimes, they will kidnap the owners alongside their boats and engines.” he added.
Reacting to questions on how he was able to initiate and bring the ‘Special Force’ to Ibeno. Mkpah said “This team is called Special Force. They are specialized in marine security. Months ago, in my desire to make Ibeno secure and safer for business, I inaugurated the Special Marine Security Outfit to monitor and safeguard our shoreline which result we are beginning to witness,”
“I have provided 4 units of 200 horsepower engines, 2 units of a 75 horsepower engines and 2 Security patrol speed boats with additional 200 horsepower engine and surveillance boat which serves as backup.”
Mkpah, explained that the sea pirates where sighted by fishermen along Eastern obolo Escravos in an attempt to launch an atack on them, which they immediately communicated the Special Force Team and, through superior gun battle, overpowered the pirates leaving four dead, while one managed to escape with sustained injuries.
One speed boat, three 200 horsepower engines, AK 47 riffles including a setima riffle amongst other sophisticated weapons and charms were recoverd from the sea pirates.
Meanwhile, Mkpah urged indigenes and residents in the LGA to remain calm and go about their normal activities without fear, assuring them of a more secured, peaceful and safer environment.