By Emma Amaize
WARRI – A gang of suspected armed kidnappers and Navy personnel, yesterday, engaged in a shootout on the waterways in Warri, Delta State, Thursday.
The suspected kidnappers, who were escaping to their den in the creek with a man they allegedly abducted at Udu Road, Warri, opened fire on the navy patrol team on Warri River for daring to stop them.
A Navy officer was feared dead and another injured in the shootout, which forced the Navy to shut the Warri waterways for several hours, disrupting movement of people and goods.
Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy, Warri, Commodore Stephen Bum Kor, told Vanguard, when contacted, that he was hearing of the incident from this reporter.
He promised to get back to the reporter later in the day, if anything came up, but a source told Vanguard that the injured navy personnel was rushed to Central Hospital, Warri, for treatment.
The Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Restore Hope, it was gathered, was contacted on the incident and they mounted a search for the fleeing kidnappers.
A dependable source told Vanguard: “After the shootout, I saw Navy men towing a Navy boat which was damaged by the kidnappers. The waterways are completely blocked by Navy officers.
There is no movement on the waterways. As I speak with you, I am on the waterways, wanting to leave for Burutu, but there is no movement.”
Vanguard gathered that the gunmen refused to stop for check when they were stopped by the navy team, and instead, opened fire on the security agents.
Details of the encounter were still sketchy, but Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Charles Muka, who confirmed the kidnap to Vanguard, said the kidnappers trailed the man to where he was erecting a building and seized him.
He said the kidnappers took their victim to Udu waterside, where they escaped in a waiting boat to an unknown place. Mr. Muka said he was not aware if the kidnappers had any encounter with Navy personnel.