The driver of the ambushed boat, in which gunmen killed 12 policemen in Bayelsa State, Peter Etete, narrated to our correspondent on Sunday the details of the attack on the security operatives.
The policemen were killed on Saturday, April 5, 2013 after their boat, heading for Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, was attacked close to their destination by the gunmen.
The victims were among the 50 policemen dispatched to the community by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kingsley Omire, to secure the funeral venue of the mother of an ex-militant leader, Mr. Kile Torughedi, popularly known as Young Shall Grow.
Etete, who hails from Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, said the boat conveying the victims was attacked at Logbia 2 community, close to Azuzuama.
The 43-year-old father of 10 said the policemen would have escaped the incident if his boat had a superior engine and was able to move alongside the boat that conveyed operatives of the Joint Task Force to the event.
“The boat that conveyed the JTF has 200- horse power engine while my boat had only 75-horse power double. So, JTF got to the place far ahead of us,” he said.
He said his boat was in motion when their attackers shot at it in a continuously for over an hour.
Describing the incident as shocking and surprising, he said none of them inside the boat, including the policemen, had expected that such an attack would occur in a community.
“It was inside the community that they shot us, not in the bush. We had passed all the bushes; so when we got to Logbia 2, we were relaxed, thinking that we had got to a community,” he said.
Etete who said they left Government Jetty in Yenagoa at about 1pm, added that they got to the scene of the incident at about 4.45pm.
He said seven gunmen who were standig on a bridge started the shooting.
“In that relaxed mood, the first thing I heard was sound of gunshots. I looked up and saw seven gunmen standing on a bridge and directing their shooting at our boat.
“The shooting was consistent and it created confusion among us. I had to jump into the water and using the high tide, I swarm under the water to the mangroves where I hid myself.
“The policemen were thrown off balance. They couldn’t shoot back. Besides, the gunmen had superior gun power. They were armed with magazine while I saw only five senior policemen in my boat with AK47 rifles. Others had smoke guns,” he said.
Etete, who spoke in Yenagoa on Sunday, said apart from seven of the gunmen, the area, which he described as a narrow creek, was surrounded by many bandits.
He said some of the gunmen moved closer on a speedboat to the ill-fated boat and shot the stranded policemen, who could not swim, at close range.
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