Militants attack A’Ibom fishermen, steal 50 outboard engines

Gunmen suspected to be sea pirates continued their siege to a fishing community in Akwa Ibom State on Saturday, injuring scores of residents in an early morning attack.

PUNCH Metro gathered that more than 10 Yamaha engines and 40 horsepower outboard engines were snatched at gunpoint during the attack, which occurred in the Itanwa area, in the Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of the state.

Our correspondent learnt that the fishermen had suffered several attacks and abductions of their members in the last one year.

The fishermen, under the auspices of the Watchout Cooperative Society, Ibaka, recently staged a protest march and called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to secure the waterways.

There was respite when the Nigerian Navy and the police attached to the Mbo LGA, in a joint operation in the Ibaka area, arrested two suspects and recovered four outboard engines and firearms hidden underground.

A source told our correspondent in Uyo, on Sunday, that the latest attack occurred when the militants stormed the high sea in a speedboat with double 200 horsepower engines and dispossessed the victims of their belongings.

He said, “More than 10 Yamaha and 40 horsepower outboard engines were snatched at gunpoint from the fishermen in the Itanwa axis of Ikot Abasi LGA of the state today (Saturday).

“Some fishermen were brutalised, while others sustained varying degrees of injury. They (the sea pirates) came in a speedboat with double 200 horsepower engines.”

However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, said the command had yet to be informed about the incident, adding that he would find out and get back to our correspondent.

He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

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