By Emma Amaize & Samuel Oyadongha
Also, the Ijaw Youth Council, Central zone, yesterday threw its weight behind the choice of Koinyan, describing him as a detribalised Niger Deltan who would bring his wealth of experience to work as the chairman of the Federal Governmentâ€™s interventionist agency minutes drive from Sagbama town, headquarters of the local government area.
Sources from the area told Vanguard that the natives were jolted from their sleep by sporadic gunfire that rented the air forcing several others reveling at the relaxation spots in the community to scamper for safety.
The attack, the first of its kind in the usually peaceful settlement, came as a surprise to many, especially with the recent Federal Government proclamation of amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta region geared towards restoration of peace in the troubled area and its development.
The victim identified as Lydia Epidi, was said to have been picked up by gunmen who stormed her residence at Undubiri quarters at about 11.45 pm.
A source said they had initially thought the sporadic gunshots were from the Joint Task Force locked in gunfight with militants in the community waterfront only to discover kidnappers were on the loose after they had left with their victim.
The invaders were said to have headed straight to the building of their target which had about three women only to fish out Mrs. Epidi and disappeared with her into the labyrinth of the creek, fueling speculation that an insider must have a hand in the abduction.
It was learnt that the gunmen had earlier gone in search of their victim in her daughter in-lawâ€™s residence at Sagbama town, but could not find her before heading to Tungbo about five kilometers away where she was kidnapped.
Son of the victim, Mr. Godspower Epidi, who is an accountant in the Bayelsa civil service confirmed the abduction of his mother when newsmen visited his Biogbolo suburb residence in Yenagoa.
He said though the matter has been reported at the Sagbama Police Station but no group has claimed responsibility as at the time of filing this report or contacted him.
Contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Elder Onuoha Udeka, confirmed the incident.
MEND kidnaps 6 expatriates
Meanwhile, the MovementÂ for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) has abducted six expatriates from a chemical tanker, Siehem Peace, about 20 nautical miles from Escravos in Delta State for allegedly disregarding its earlier warning to oil, gas and chemical tankers to keep away from the Niger-Delta.
The six crew members that were taken hostage are Captain Yuriy Shastimm,Â Russian; Chief Engineer Vasvi Bondarkov, Russian; 2nd Engineer Viktor Koshevoy, Russian; Cadet Banjit Singh Dhindsa, Indian; Arivando Galima, Filipino and Tavares Rouirgo, Filipino.
Spokesman of the militant group, Jomo Gbomo in a statement, yesterday, said, â€œFor disregarding our warning to oil, gas and chemical tankers to keep away from the Niger Delta waters, six crew members from the chemical tanker, Siehem Peace were seized about 20 nautical miles from Escravos on Sunday, July 5, 2009 by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and will be held until further notice.”