Militants have attacked a military house boat at Ejere Junction, a creek in Warri South council area of Delta State, killing seven people, including two soldiers.
The killings have heightened the tension in the oil-rich Niger Delta where oil facilities have been attacked. Nigeria’s output has been badly affected.
It was gathered that five boats, loaded with heavily armed insurgents, stormed an isolated boat house, located inside the creek around Omadino, an Itsekiri community, at about 8:00pm and opened fire on the occupants, killing all those onboard, except a civilian, who reportedly died on the way to the hospital.
There was no claim of responsibility for the Wednesday attack.
A community source said the attack happened at about 8:00pm. He said all occupants of the boat, whom he thought to be soldiers, were killed.
“An army security house boat was attacked and all the security men inside were killed last night at Omadino, by pipeline, here. This happened around 8 in the evening,” he said.
Another source, from one of the military formations in Warri said those in the house boat were not all soldiers. There were civilians, who rendered various types of services aboard.
A military source from Warri, who confirmed the development, told said that two soldiers and five civilians died in the attack. He said most of the men stationed at the house boat had gone on pipeline patrol when the attackers came.
According to the source, although outnumbered by the assailants, the soldiers who were left on the boat when the attackers came gave their best, ensuring that the assailants did not leave without a bloody nose.
He said: “The report is true. They came in five speed boats. They were many and, unfortunately, when they got there, some of the soldiers were on pipelines patrol. When the attackers got there, the man on sentry did his best, but, unfortunately, because of their number they opened fire to kill the civilians inside the house boat. There were four civilians and two soldiers, making six.
“The seventh person, who happened to be a civilian, was rushed to Oghara (the Delta State University Teaching Hospital). Getting to Oghara, they found out that the hospital was on strike. Before he could be rushed back to Warri, his situation had deteriorated. You know the distance between Warri and Oghara; that was how he gave up the ghost.
“Our people also got some of them down, but as they wouldn’t like to leave any of their casualties behind, we can’t ascertain, but the soldiers tried their best in reducing their number”, the source said.
The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Benin, Captain Jonah Unuakhalu, in a statement, said two soldiers were killed, one injured, another one missing and four civilians rendering services on the house boat, were also killed.
“At about 5:50pm on 1 June 2016, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Houseboat deployed at Ejere junction in Warri South Local Government Area was attacked by suspected armed militants group. The suspected militants approached the Houseboat in five (5) speed boats mounted with 250 horse power engines and disguised as normal commuters. During the deliberate attack, two soldiers were killed, one wounded, one soldier missing while four civilian officials attached to the house boat were shot dead. The attack occurred when other members of the troops were on pipeline patrol.
“The Brigade condemns the attack on our personnel carrying out their constitutional duties and other innocent employee. The Brigade will not be deterred by such dastardly acts, but will remain resolute in discharging its constitutional duties. Furthermore, those who carried out the criminal acts will surely be sought, apprehended and brought to justice,” the army spokesman said.
At the Warri Central Hospital, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mrs. Success Obere, confirmed that the bodies of some military men and civilians were brought to the morgue, but could not give the exact number.
It was, however confirmed that three soldiers and four civilians were deposited at the morgue.