Nine workers of two oil servicing companies, the Octopus Clan Nigerian Limited and the Deck Oil Services, were yesterday confirmed kidnapped along the Ilebiri Creek in the southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State by gunmen suspected to be renegade militants.The oil workers, according to top security sources, were abducted around 2.00 p.m. last Thursday by gunmen suspected to be killers of the 12 policemen last month along the waterways of Azuzuama community of the southern Ijaw area.It was disclosed yesterday that the kidnapped workers were Nigerians and were on their way to resume repairs on 18” Tebidaba Brass line, Ogoda Ogboinbiri 24” line at Oporoma, Ogboinbiri Tebidaba 14” line at Ikebiri, Kemebiama, Osiama 6” flowline, Tebidaba wells 14 & 11 and several others for the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
An indigene of the Ikebiri community, Kelvin Okuneibie, told The Guardian that the indigenous fishermen along the waters confirmed that the gunmen swooped on the oil workers from the Azuzuama axis of the area.
He said: “These gunmen are suspected to be killers of the 12 policemen and may be running from the onslaught of the JTF and kidnapped the workers as insurance.”
Five of the kidnapped workers were reportedly attached to the Port Harcourt-based oil and gas servicing company known as the Octopus Clan Nigeria Limited.
The company is owned by the former Chairman of the defunct Bayelsa State Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Chief James Jephathah.
Contacted on the development, the Media Co-ordinator of the Joint Task Force code-named Operation Pulo Shield, Lt.-Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, said he was not aware of the development as the employers of the kidnapped workers had not officially reported to the task force.
All calls to the Public Relations Officer of the Bayelsa Police Command, Mr. Alex Akhigbe, yielded no result as they claimed ignorance of the development.