By: Okosun Dennis
A police team in search and rescue operation have arrested 17 pirates and confiscated their two boats three days after some pirates operating on two gun boats mounted with one mechine gun and two AK 47 rifle had attacked some policemen escorting some VIPs in River State.
The pirates were said to have ran into the police marine patrol and immediately opened fire at them along Cutting Chanel 1, Degema Bakana River in the state.
Nationalwire gathered from a police source that the police team assisted by Superintendent John Ayah, Special Protection Unit (SPU) personnels and other sister security agencies in search and rescue operation ran into the hoodlums and engaged them in a fierce gun battle.
Dosed by superior fire power from the security forces, the criminals were said to have fled and dived into the river. After a thorough search of their location, the police recovered three of their Ak 47 rifles carefully concealed in a hidden plastic jerrycan.
However, it was revealed that while searching for kidnapped Festus Atline and the police missing AK 47 rifles, at about 1540hrs, the police team ran into a gang of sea pirates in two boats carrying nine and eight persons respectively.
On sighting them, the criminals opened fire and the gun duel that ensured led to their arrest and the confiscation of the two boats.
It was gathered that before the police could reach them, the criminals swiftly threw their weapons into the river except two Ak 47 magazines and various charms and amulets that were recovered inside the boats.
However, one of the rescued VIP identified as Marvin Thompson and a police Sgt Okpara Obiuto were able to identify two of the pirates as part of those that commanded the attack on them few days before.
Nationalwire further learnt that the arrested pirates have been handed over to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State command for further investigation while the seized boats have be kept under the custody of the Marine Police unit at Abonnima Wharf in Port Harcourt while the search of the other kidnapped victims continued.