A yet-to-identified military chopper that fired on unarmed civilians in a local cargo boat conveying goods along the Bonny River at Dutch Island area in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region,
Though details were sketchy but an eyewitnesses say an unidentified military chopper descended to about 500 meters above sea level and opened fire on the passengers, who were mainly deckhands working on the boat, and injuring a yet-to ascertained number of persons “a military chopper shot at a boat conveying people and foodstuff from Port Harcourt to Bonny”.
“The local boat that just left here for Bonny on their way to within that Dutch Island area, a chopper or will I call it military flight or whatever, just come behind and bring their self low down, start shooting the wooden boat.”
“A boat driver said people were in that boat, that boat conveys garri, rice, with other other things and everybody knows that that is the source of quick transporting of foodstuffs to Bonny; the boat left Port Harcourt, making its way to Bonny.”
“It is not hidden, everybody saw it, the chopper flied through this way na, I can’t even call it chopper, it is a military flight because if it’s not a military flight, ordinary chopper cannot just start shooting people.”
When contacted, the Officer-in-charge of the Marine Police, Bonny, Solomon Adeniyi, a Superintendent of Police, confirmed receiving a report about the incident, adding that efforts were being made to get further details on the incident.
According to him, victims of the attack, which he said happened along the Bonny River at Dutch Island in Okrika LGA, were currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Okrika while the other survivors were being conveyed to Bonny.
It was yet unclear whether the chopper belonged to the Nigerian Air Force or Nigerian Navy, or any other arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
Commanding Officer of the Forward Operating Base (FOB), Nigerian Navy, Bonny, Capt. Rafiu Oladejo told Kristina Reports that he could not confirm the veracity of the incident as it was being investigated.
Efforts to reach the 115 Special Operations Group, Nigerian Air Force, Port Harcourt to ascertain if they carried out any operations on the Bonny River proved abortive as at the time of this report.
A SURVIVOR Awwal Rufai, a marine technician specialized in fixing outboard engines, arrived from Okrika where he was rushed to for treatment after the attack narrates his ordeal
Normally, we leave Port Harcourt by 10am. On our way coming back, getting to Dutch Island our engine stopped. We called for a new engine, a new engine was sent to us and 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
He said they were five in number but only three of them sustained injuries “Just five of us, myself, Awal Rufai, Paul Jacob and the boat pilot, Abdul Hadi. This is the only three I can l say for now, I will let u know the rest two as soon as possible. one other person that was affected, he got shot on the knee while I got shot on my middle figure. what we are carrying is Food stuffs, like garri, beans, rice, drinks, sugarcane. Just food stuff, it is a market boat.”