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Military helicopter reportedly attack boat passengers

By Mike Odiegwu

One of the occupants of the wooden cargo boat, which was attacked along the Bonny waterways in Rivers State, by an unidentified military helicopter has relieved his ordeal.

A source earlier said the boat took off at the Bonny-Nembe waters in Port Harcourt insisting there were dead casualties.

The source, who spoke in confidence, expressed shock over the incident, explaining that the boat conveyed passengers and foodstuff.

He said: “The local boat left here to Bonny, within the Treasure Island area. A chopper or I will call it a flight helicopter just came behind, went very low and started shooting the wooden boat.

“From the information we got from a boat driver, there were passengers in the boat. The boat also contained foodstuff, garri, rice and other items.

“Everyone knows that is the route for transporting foodstuff to Bonny. Some people died in the boat.”

But one of the victims of the attack, Awwal Rufai, a marine technician who specialized in fixing outboard engines, said the helicopter hovered around the area three times before it opened fire on the boat.


 

He said five of them were in the boat, which carried largely foodstuffs, when the incident occurred at about 2pm on Thursday.

Rufai, who identified two other occupants of the boat as Paul Jacob and Hadi Abdul said three of them sustained various degrees of injuries from the attack.

Narrating the incident, he said: “Normally, we leave Port Harcourt by 10am. On our way coming back, getting to the Dutch Island our engine stopped.

“We called for a new engine, and a new one was sent to us. We received it at 1pm. Between 1:30 and 2pm, a chopper was seen around that area. It came around the first time, went back, came back again the second time and left.

“The third time it came around, it dropped a rope from the chopper and a personnel was seen coming down from the chopper into the boat and later went back up, next thing they opened fire and started shooting at us.


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