By Ovie Okpare
At least three policemen are reportedly feared dead as arms-wielding gunmen suspected to be sea pirates attacked policemen allegedly escorting a barge carrying petroleum product from Delta State to Bayelsa State.
The incident, NIGER DELTA TODAY reliably learnt, happened on Saturday morning along the Bayelsa/Delta River.
Sources told our correspondent that the attack took place around the boundary communities of the two states near the Dodo River.
The source claimed that one of the policemen allegedly killed in the incident was attached to the Ekpan Police Station in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta while the remaining two were from Abuja.
Multiple security sources at Ekpan police station confirmed the incident but craved anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to press.
Community sources around the area where the attack took place alleged that the ‘deceased policemen’ were on illegal duty and the barge they were escorting was carrying product alleged to be stolen product.
It was learnt that the gunmen also stole service riffles belonging to the policemen during the attack.
However, when contacted, the Delta Police Commissioner, Mr Adeyinka Adeleke, who said he was on vacation, told our correspondent that the incident took place in Bayelsa and not in Delta as being speculated.
CP Adeleke also confirmed that a policeman from Ekpan was among the policemen attacked but said he was not sure that the policemen were killed in the attack.
The Delta Police chief, who referred our correspondent to his counterpart in Bayelsa for details of the incident, said “That incident happened in Bayelsa water (river) but it’s true somebody (policeman) from Ekpan Division was there.
“I am not sure if any of them was killed but it happened in Bayelsa. I cannot give account of what happened in Bayelsa command.”
When also contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya, confirmed the attack of the policemen but could not state categorically if the policemen were killed or still alive.
Onowakpoyeya could not also confirm if the attacked policemen were escorting product of illegally refined petroleum product during the incident.
“I have not actually gotten the full report because the incident didn’t happen here (in Delta). It happened in Bayelsa River”, she added
But when asked if any of the Delta Command’s officers was involved in the incident, she said “That’s what I am saying, they haven’t really briefed me.”
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Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Police Command said it had not been able to confirm alleged attack of the officers.
The Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Asinim Butswat, told NIGER DELTA TODAY on phone that his attention was drawn to the incident but the command had not been able to authenticate the incident.
Butswat said, “Somebody sent me that information yesterday (Saturday) and I called our contacts here but certainly they are not from us.
“I am not in the picture completely because when I contacted our DPOs that happened to be along that axis they said nothing like that. They couldn’t confirm anything for me.
“May be because they are not from here nobody really knows what happened. And because they are not from this (Bayelsa) command, it is really difficult for us to authenticate the information.”