By TAYE OBATERU, SAMUEL OYADONGHA & UMAR YUSUF
It was a black weekend in Bayelsa State as 13 policemen were feared dead in a boat attack along the creek of Azuazuama in the Southern Ijaw local government area of the state.
26 others were killed in separate attacks in Adamawa, Plateau and Borno States.
The Bayelsa incident, which jolted the security circle in the predominantly riverine state, Sunday Vanguard learnt occurred at about 5p.m. on Friday.
It was also the subject of discussion among security operatives on the Brass Island in Brass local government area where the Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force held a two-day free medical services for the people to ameliorate the impact of recent floods that ravaged the state.
Though the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had threatened attacks on the nation vast oil installations in Delta from mid night of Friday, it was, however, learnt that the Friday attack which claimed the lives of the policemen may have had nothing to do with the threat.
The deceased operatives, a security source said, they were heading to the coastal Azuzuama community in the deep mangrove swamp of Southern Ijaw council area when they came under attack. The boat in which they were traveling was reportedly sunk by their assailants, causing them to drown.
It was reliably learnt that the policemen were on their way to provide security at the wake-keep of the mother of an ex-militant leader, said to be locked in feud with his boys over their alleged abandonment.
The ex-militant leader, it was learnt, had relocated to Abuja after embracing the Federal Government amnesty leaving behind his boys.
Sensing trouble, the ex militant leader was said to have approached the police authorities in Yenagoa for police protection during the burial ceremony.
The assailants, who allegedly got wind of the police deployment, were said to have laid ambush for the boat conveying the security operatives along the Azuzuama creek, killing thirteen of them while three reportedly escaped.
The state police public relations officer, Alex Akhigbe, DSP, could not be reached as he was not picking his calls but the state commissioner of police, Mr. Kins Omire, when contacted, said he was in a meeting and his line went off.
‘I counted 13 bodies’
In the Adamawa incident, gunmen attacked Midlu village in Madagali local government area, killing 13 and leaving several others injured.
An eye witness said the attack took place on Friday night while the residents were still mourning after some attackers stormed the area and opened fire on residents, resulting in the death of 11 people on the spot.
The eye witness said the gunmen, numbering about forty, attacked the residence of the Deputy Governor of the state, Bala James Ngilari, who hails from the village.
He added that the attackers ransacked the Deputy Governor’s house and shot two security guards there. The Friday incident, according to him, happened after the muslim ISHA’I prayer, and took the residents by surprise. The attackers, he said, shouted “ALLAH is great, ALLAH is great, “while marching round the village unchallenged. He said he counted 13 bodies after the attack. When contacted, Adamawa State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Ibrahim, confirmed the attack.
At least 11 people were killed in the Plateau attacks which occurred in Langtang South and Wase local government areas yesterday. While gunmen suspected to be herdsmen killed seven and injured several others at Karkashi in Langtang South LGA, four of the attackers in a similar incident at Zango in Wase LGA were not as lucky as they were repelled and killed by the villagers.
The gunmen were said to have struck at Karkashi at about 2.am opening fire on their victims, killing some and injuring many.
Media Officer of the Special Task Force maintaining security in the state, Captain Salisu Mustapha confirmed the Karkashi incident.
He said four suspects have been arrested over the attack and were being interrogated adding that they would be handed over to the police at the end of investigations.
Slain district head
In Borno, gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram Islamists, in separate attacks, on Friday and yesterday, shot dead the district head of Auno; and a policeman on patrol on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
Auno is 22 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the state capital. The gunmen, according to a resident, came in two unmarked Golf Volkswagen vehicles at 8.35pm Friday and drove straight to the district head’s palace, before firing several gunshots to scare the villagers.
The slain policeman, according to an eye witness was shot dead near Muna Motor Park, yesterday, while patrolling the 85-kilometre Maiduguri-Dikwa road.