By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA NIGERIAN Airforce has launched investigation into the Sunday attack on its helipad at Igbogene in the outskirts of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital in which an Airman on guard duty was killed by unknown gunmen.
This is just as security has been reinforced around the facility and the gateway area of the state.
Though information about the attack is still hazy, the gunmen were said to have stormed the isolated facility located in the outskirts of the state capital in the early hours of Sunday.
The strategically located facility could be accessed from three fronts namely, the Mbiama axis of the East-West road in Rivers State, the new Glory Drive via the East -West road stretch of Bayelsa State and the Yenagoa flank of the state capital.
The hoodlums, believed to be in search of arms, reportedly scaled the iron fence of the facility which is surrounded by overgrown vegetation to carry out the audacious attack.
According to a security source, the hoodlums after scaling the fence shot the airman at the security post and made away with his rifle.
The source added that the second guard was not inside the premises when the gunmen struck.
“The helipad is surrounded by bush. So, it was easy for the gunmen to attack it. When they came, they shot the airman at the security post and took his rifle. When the second airman heard the gunshot, he rushed to the site and saw his colleague lying dead,” he said.
He called on security operatives to always be at alert following preparations for the 2019 general elections.
“Activities for the 2019 elections have started and hoodlums are looking for weapons. This is one of the ways they go about it. Security operatives should increase their level of alertness,” he said.
Meantime, there was an unusual high security presence around the gateway axis of the state capital as vehicles coming and going out of Yenagoa were subjected to horough search by security operatives.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Airforce Headquarters has confirmed the attack but said its personnel on duty repelled it in a shootout.
A statement by the Director of NAF Public Relations, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya said the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday, as a group of unknown gunmen attacked the guard post at Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helipad.
The statement said: “Although the NAF personnel on duty were able to repel the attack, an airman paid the supreme sacrifice in the process.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has ordered an immediate investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident”.