Yenagoa- Unidentified gunmen, suspected to be ex-militants, have reportedly killed eight persons in Lorbia community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that five ex-militant youths, who embraced the government’s amnesty offer under the leadership of Pastor Reuben Wilson, an ex-militant leader, were among those who were killed.
Wilson reportedly lost his 37-year-old brother, Judah Benaibi Wilson, in the attack which security sources described as a clash between rival gangs.
Lt.-Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, who confirmed the incident, however, said that the casualty figures were still unclear.
``At about 2 a.m. on Saturday, there was an armed collision between two armed groups at Lorbia in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, which led to the death of unspecified number of persons,’’ he said.
Nwachukwu said that the bodies of those who died in the armed confrontation had yet to be recovered from the waters.
``Our troops have carried out a cordon and search operation in the community; and we seized items including two AK47 rifles, one general purpose machine gun, six AK47 magazines and one speedboat, among others,’’ he said.
The victims were allegedly lured into the creek and shot dead by gunmen, suspected to be the masterminds of the April 6 attack in which 12 policemen were killed.
At the Yenagoa home of ex-militant leader Wilson, sympathisers were seen discussing the incident in groups, as Wilson confirmed the loss of his brother.
When contacted, Alex Akhigbe, the Police Public Relations Officer in Bayelsa, said that the command was aware of the reported armed conflict but said that the details were still sketchy.