Niger Delta: Militants Abduct Three Dutch Nationals

… 2 Other Nigerians Missing

SAN FRANCISCO, May 04, (THEWILL) – Three Dutch nationals were abducted, Sunday, in Letugbene, a boundary community between Delta and Bayelsa States by yet-to-be identified gunmen suspected to be Niger Delta militants.

The whereabouts of two other Nigerians accompanying the Dutch nationals are still unknown though they were not kidnapped along with the Dutch.

Local sources told THEWILL that the three Dutch nationals, two males and a female, were abducted about 4:30pm after a visit to the palace of the traditional ruler of Iduwuni Kingdom, HRM. King Joel Ibane ( Ogiobo IX).

They were said to have visited the monarch as part of their visit to the Dodo River communities on a fact-finding mission during which they were conducted round a local hospital in Amutu II which served over 16 communities along the Dodo River.

They were said to have visited to see how they could attract material support to meet the health care needs of the people but were seized at the community jetty by the gunmen. The gunmen were said to have appeared in a Passport boat, shooting sporadically with their AK-47 rifles and operated in a commando style, seizing their victims, after the monarch had bade the victims farewell.

Eyewitnesses disclosed that several persons in a second boat quickly jumped into the river to escape being hurt as the gunmen made way with every valuables in the boat including laptops, ipads, phones, cameras among others.

“I was on the boat with the three Dutch nationals and two Nigerians where the gunmen rounded us up at Letugbene community and ordered everybody to lie face down in the boat.

“They collected all our belongings including handsets, cameras, IPads among others. I heard them say take the white men away. I don’t know if the other Nigerians were equally seized because at the time they left we couldn’t find the two Nigerians.

“Some persons in the second boat including community leaders from Dodo River jumped into the river following the heavy shooting. We learnt some of them are missing including the Dutch based-Nigerians who came with the foreigners,” a journalist who survived the attack was quoted as saying.

The foreigners had on Saturday alongside the team led by a Nigerian activist based in The Netherlands, Comrade Sunny Ofehe of Hope for Niger Delta Campaign, HNDC, who also doubles as the publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Inside Niger Delta Magazine, had briefed members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Warri Correspondents Chapel of their mission to the communities.

At the briefing, the team disclosed that they were in the Niger Delta following the invitation by the leadership of Dodo River federated community led by Mr Berry Negerese, who was said to have facilitated their trip to see how they could help the local hospital which they said was built through a Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) initiatives.

Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the JTF to get a confirmation the incident at the time of filing this report proved abortive.