The Nigeria Police Force has arrested two men for abducting at least 14 foreign sailors on the high sea and using dynamites to kill many Nigerian soldiers in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
According to the police, the suspects have penchant for kidnapping sailors and terrorising seafarers traveling along the Gulf of Guinea and Bayelsa and Rivers States.
The suspects were arrested by Operatives of the Force Special Intelligence Response Team, led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
The suspects, Kelvin Dikuro, aka General Small Voice; and Erememi Captain, aka Nwalanta, were arrested after IRT Operatives, based on intelligence reports, trailed them to their hideouts in Bayelsa and Rivers States to arrest them.
Dikuro, 24, said: “We kidnapped nine foreign sailors from their vessel in January 2019, on the sea in Bayelsa State and took them to New Jerusalem Island in Buguma Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“We held them captive for 14 days and fed them noodles.
“One of my brother’s friends, Commander Sunday, was the person communicating with relatives of the victims and the sum of N5 million was eventually paid as ransom for the release of the sailors.
“I was given N200,000 as my share and other members got their share.
“Four hundred thousand naira was later given to me to buy ammunition for the gang.”
Captain said: “I and my gang members also attacked and destroyed a Navy house boat with dynamite, killing all the soldiers on board the house boat at Ekeremor.
“The reason we carried out that operation was because the Navy house boat had been destroying our camps where we keep kidnapped victims and petroleum products.
“Our gang also ambushed and killed four soldiers and took away their rifles.”
The Police explained: “The suspects had taken part in several sea piracy operations, where they hijacked foreign vessels plying the Gulf of Guinea.
“They kidnapped crews on board the vessels and released them after collecting ransom.
“The suspects were also fingered in the 2019 attack and bombing of a Nigeria Navy house boat, patrolling the creeks of the Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State, killing all soldiers on board.”
It was further gathered that some of the intelligence, which led to the arrest of the suspects, who were also linked to the May 2020, kidnapping of the father of Sagbama Local Government Chairman of Bayelsa State, were generated by officials of the Nigeria Navy, which regularly patrolled the Gulf of Guinea.
The Intel was passed to operatives IRT Unit.
Revealing his activities, Dikuro said that his alias, General Small Voice, belonged to his late elder brother.
His words: “I’m not General Small Voice.
“The name belongs to my elder brother, who is dead.
“My brother was not just a kidnapper; he was also into oil bunkering.
“He was killed because of his restiveness in our community.
“He was killed on August 17, 2017 just after he was released from police station.
“He has five AK-47 rifles, which he bought because of his business.
“After his death, I inherited his guns.
“I formed a five-man gang and went into kidnapping.”
Recalling his gang’s second operation, Dikuro said it was carried out on high sea in Bayelsa State, where they abducted five foreign sailors.
He recounted: “On that fateful day, our magazines were loaded with 30 rounds of live ammunition in each rifle.
“We took our victims to New Jerusalem Island, and on Sunday, did the negotiation for the ransom.
“The sum of N10 million was paid as ransom before they were released.
“I got N1 million as my share of the ransom.
“We also carried out two sea pirate operations where two persons were killed.
“I wasn’t in town when the kidnapping of the father of the Sagbama Local Government Chairman took place.
“I was in Omoku in Rivers State with my family when it happened.
“But I got a call from one Preye, who informed me that my gang members were behind the kidnapping.
“He wanted me to negotiate the release of the man and gave me N1.3 million to take into the creek to give my boys.
“I fled with the money because Commander Sunday, who was with my guns, led the kidnapping.
“He didn’t brief me about it or told me the amount he was negotiating as ransom.
“I was arrested in my house in Omoku a week after I collected the money.
“I don’t even know if the father of the Sagbama Local Government Chairman had been released.”
Captain, who is a fisherman, went into sea piracy and pipeline vandalism after he became friends with one Owei.
Captain explained that Owei introduced him to sea piracy and kidnapping.
He confessed to have gone on several kidnapping operations with the gang and its leader called Moriekeme.
He stated: “In the first operation I went with the gang, we abducted some oil workers and a military officer at Ayama Town.
“We were 10 in number that went for that operation.
“We were all armed with AK47 rifles, loaded with 120 rounds of live ammunition each.
“The second kidnapping was at Dodo North Oil Rig, belonging to Shell Petroleum Development.
“In that operation, we kidnapped one of the workers on the rig at Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.”
After abductions, it was part of Moriekeme’s duty to negotiate for payment of ransom with the victim’s company.
Captain stated: “I don’t know how much was paid as ransom, but I bought cocaine and built a house with my share of the ransom.
“All our rifles were kept by Moriekeme in the creek.
“We also killed some soldiers at southern Ijaw in June 2020.
“We attacked a merchant vessel ‘Ambica’ in Dodo River and killed four military officers attached to her.
“We left with their rifles.
“I have also gone for kidnapping in Rivers State where the police engaged my gang in a gun fire, a bullet hit my right hand, but we managed to escape.
“I also belonged to a cult group called Green Lander.
“It was Morikeme that got me initiated.”