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9 oil workers kidnapped in Bayelsa

By The Citizen

Nine oil workers, attached to the Nigerian Oil Servicing Companies of the Octopus Clan Nigerian Limited and the Deck Oil Services, have been reportedly kidnapped by gunmen suspected to be renegade militants along the Ilebiri Creek in the Southern Ijaw Area of Bayelsa State.

Though the alleged kidnap of the oil workers could not be independently confirmed, security sources said they were seized last Thursday at 2p.m. by gunmen suspected to be part of the gang that killed 12 policemen three weeks ago at Lobia II in the creek of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

It was learnt that the abducted oil workers are Nigerians and were on their way to resume repair work on several pipeline leaks ranging from 18 Tebidaba Brass line, Ogoda Ogboinbiri 24 line at Oporoma, Ogboinbiri Tebidaba 14 line at Ikebiri, Kemebiama, Osiama 6 flowline, Tebidaba wells 14 & 11 flowline replacement and several others for the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NOAC.

An indigene of the Ikebiri community, Kelvin Okuneibie, said some local fishermen along the waters witnessed the abduction of the oil workers by armed gunmen operating in two speedboats.

He said, 'these gunmen are suspected to be killers of the 12 policemen and may be running from the JTF operations in the area and abduct the workers as shield.'

Contacted on the development, the Joint Task Force otherwise known as Operation Pulo Shield through its Spokesman, Lt.Col.Onyeama Nwachukwu, said the outfit was not aware of the development as the employers of the kidnapped workers have not officially reported to the task Force.

Also, calls to the police authorities yielded no result as the Public Relations officer of the Bayelsa Command of the Police, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, claimed ignorance of the development.