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Survivor of attack on policemen regains freedom

By The Citizen

It emerged yesterday that one of the 12 policemen ambushed in Bayelsa State survived the attack, as he has regained his freedom from the deadly militants.

According to security sources, who pleaded not to be named, said  the survivor, Lucky Ebebi, 31, a bachelor from Esama, in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, met two expatriates - a Greek and an Indonesian - at the camp of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the creek of Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

The sources said the hostages were released alongside Ebebi, after payment of the ransom.

It was alleged that one of the freed expatriates later died as a result of the trauma he suffered at MEND's camp.

The source revealed that the policeman and expatriates were held at one of the numerous and highly-fortified camps of MEND in the creeks of Bayelsa.

At the emergency ward of the FMC where Ebebi was treated, one of the health personnel on duty, who pleaded for anonymity, confirmed that the freed policeman was brought into the hospital.

Police spokesman Alex Akhigbe, who confirmed the development in a telephone interview at 6:34pm yesterday, insisted that no ransom was paid.

Akhigbe said: 'The policeman who was held hostage by the militants has been released. He sustained gunshot injuries, but he is now in a stable condition.

'He was released through negotiations, prayers, contacts. We did not pay any ransom before he was set free.

'We do not have that kind of money. Where do you expect the Bayelsa Police Command to get N1 million to pay to militants as ransom?

'The policeman met two civilians at the militants' camp. The families of the expatriates were, as at Wednesday, discussing with the gunmen who kidnapped the two men how they would be released. As at today (yesterday), I do not have information about their release or on the death of one of them.'

The released police corporal was reportedly admitted at the emergency ward of the FMC, where he was treated for gunshot wounds and discharged.

Meanwhile, the charred remains of the 11 other ambushed policemen were retrieved on Tuesday from the creeks by a rescue team.

As at press time last night, the bodies were still at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, the state capital.