The Joint military force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, said on Tuesday that its personnel killed four suspected pirates during a surveillance patrol along the Ogbia-Nembe waterways in Bayelsa State on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria learnt that the shootout occurred at the same place where a Lebanese construction worker was abducted and two soldiers killed by gunmen in April.
The spokesman of the force, Colonel Ado Isa, confirmed the incident, saying that four of the hoodlums were hit by the troops’ bullets and feared dead.
Isa said the troops were on patrol of the waterways when they saw the hoodlums between Peregbene and Obama area of the state.
The spokesman said the suspected pirates were using a speedboat with 200 horse power engine, which had been banned on the state’s waterways.
Isa said: “On sighting the gunboat, the gunmen tried to escape. Our troops fired at them while they were trying to run away. As they were escaping, they were firing back at our troops. About four of them were hit by bullets.
“They were either dead or sustained serious injuries.
“They navigated into a narrow creek, put off the engine of their boat and ran into the creeks. They escaped with their dead.
“One of our soldiers was shot in the leg and he was immediately rushed to a hospital for treatment.”
Isa said the troops were still combing the creeks to locate the whereabouts of the gunmen.
He said the Commander of the Operation Pulo Shield, Major General Alani Okunlola, had ensured regular patrol of the waterways to fish out economic saboteurs and other maritime criminals in the Niger Delta region.