By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT â€” TWOÂ Policemen were killed yesterday in Port Harcourt and two others sustained gun shot wounds during a fierce encounter between the Police and gunmen around Woji road area of the state capital.
Also, two children were kidnapped on their way to school, yesterday, in the Garden City. This is seen by concerned citizens as a major blow to the Federal Governmentâ€™s amnesty programme that ended on October 4.
Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Rita Inoma Abbey, confirmed both stories.
This is coming just two days after a former member of the Rivers State House of Assembly Charles Nsiegbe was gunned down in Port Harcourt at Tombia street extension by suspected assassins dressed in Police uniform.
The intention of the hoodlums that engaged the policemen in a gun duel was not clear at press time but they were said to be driving in an unmarked car.
They reportedly attracted the attention of some policemen from the Olu Obasanjo division. Apparently, in a bid to confirm the identities of those in the car, a gun battle ensued.Â The assailants reportedly fled.
The development caused heavy traffic on Olu Obasanjo road as police attached to the Olu Obasanjo Police station blocked the two lanes for over 30 minutes.
A Mercedes Benz car, with the four tyres punctured, apparently from gunshots from the robbers was seen parked at the station.
There has been relative quiet since the post-amnesty rehabilitation programme for the ex-militants started until some of the former militants kept in a camp in Rivers State protested over the late payment of their N65,000Â monthly allowance, and raped some students of the University of Port Harcourt. The University Campus and the Alum Camp of the ex-militants are close to one another.
Gunmen kidnap two pupils
The two children kidnapped yesterday, both below the age of 10, were taken from their car in central Port Harcourt early in the day. It was not clear who was responsible for the kidnapping.
â€œThis morning, we got a report that two kids were abducted while they were being driven to school. We are still investigating,â€ said Rita Inoma-Abbey.
Residents in Port Harcourt say violent crimes have become more common and blame it on former militants, who left the creeks of the Niger Delta in the amnesty.
The amnesty offer is the most serious attempt yet to end years of unrest in the Niger Delta, where armed gangs have blown up pipelines and kidnapped foreign oil workers to push what they say are demands for a fairer share of the natural wealth. But there have been delays to the promised monthly stipends and retraining programmes for those who agreed to disarm.
Sceptics had warned that unless they were quickly found work and a source of income, many would return to a life of crime.
The University of Port Harcourt was closed last week after lecturers and students said it was too dangerous to continue work since the rehabilitation facility for ex-militants fighters was established near the campus.