Tension Mounts As Boat Owners Boycott Port Harcourt-Gbile Waterways

Barely three days after the cruel attack of Bille Community by heavily armed sea pirates which led the untimely death of two persons and subsequent boycott of the Port Harcourt-Gbille waterways, passengers and Seafarers were seen today stranded at the jetty.

Boat drivers and owners now avoid totally Bille Community, in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.

According to sources, the attackers rounded up three passenger boats in Bille on their way to Port Harcourt, carted away with one of the boats after inflicting injuries on three passengers.

Gov. Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

According to the sources, one of the boats was said to be carrying family and guests of a wedding taking place in Port Harcourt.

The attackers allegedly forced down passengers of the first two boats in the creeks and went away with their belongings.

A third boat sent to rescue the passengers was also attacked and the body perforated with bullets from the attackers’ guns and it was feared sunk in the middle of the River.

Due to the incident, the Degema Local Government Chairman, Tony Philmoore had to cancel his trip to Buguma, headquarters of Asari Toru Local Government Area where the father of former Senior Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike on Special Projects, George Kelly, was to be buried.

A similar scenario played out last week whereby pirates attacked a Port Harcourt bound passenger boat from Bakana.

Dr. Tony Philmoore

Recently the naval merchants who used to patrol the New Calabar River and Bille creeks on gunboats were said to have been given additional responsibility to protect Bakana creeks as a result of recent attacks there.

This might have whittled down their operations along the Bille axis and given the pirates openings to attack.

Boat Operators demand the attention of the Rivers State Government and the Local government Chairman of the area to mobilize gunboats to patrol the route and protect them.

In his reaction, the Executive Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Tony Philmoore, has vowed to track down pirates terrorizing seafarers along the New Calabar River and its adjoining creeks in Degema local government area.

Dr. Philmoore who expressed pain over the incessant and life threatening attacks on boat drivers and passengers in the waterways, vowed to do everything possible within his power as council chairman to deal with the challenge.

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