AT least, 12 persons are feared killed following an attack by bandits suspected to be sea pirates.
The sea pirates reportedly operated along the waterways in Kula Community in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The deceased were in four boats when they were attacked by pirates. They reportedly drowned in the sea.
It was gathered that the pirates ordered the occupants of the four boats to jump into the sea.
The four boats were said to have earlier left Kula jetty and moving towards Abonema in Asari-Toru Local Government Area before they met the pirates, who robbed the occupants of their personal belongings before ordering them to jump into the sea at gunpoint.
It was learnt that the incident occurred at about 6.30am on Monday and the hoodlums escaped with the four boats.
“The pirates stopped the passenger boats in the middle of the high sea and the occupants were forced to jump into the sea after being threatened with the gun. The pirates left with the four passenger boats,” a source within Kula said.
Our correspondent learnt that divers within the area were able to rescue some of the passengers while some still remained missing as of the time of filing this report.
It was gathered that the development had caused serious tension within the area as fishermen and women became scared of travelling by sea.
The Chairman, Community Development Committee of Kula Community, Mr. Lolo Awara, confirmed the incident and added that the number of those still missing could not be immediately identified.
Awara expressed sadness that sea pirates had continued to unleash mayhem in Kula with no effort by security agents to address the situation.
The CDC chairman pointed out that the state government had kept silent over the increasing attack on the people by sea pirates.
He warned that communities in Oceania might seek to leave Rivers for Bayelsa State if no effort was made to address the situation.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmad Muhammad, said he would not comment on the matter until he was briefed.