Pirates in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta have set off a number of attacks since last Thursday. According to security officials, so far three policeman have been killed and nine people have been abducted.
Many of those who have been kidnapped are local workers in Africa’s oil industry. Piracy is becoming an all too common issue in surrounding waterways and seas, and across the globe pirate attacks are occurring more often.
The most recent attacks, which took place in the Niger Delta, involved a gunman opening fire on police officers escorting officers escorting Italian oil company ENI’s barge along the Santa Barbara River. The three officers were killed. Police Commissioner for Bayelsa state, Valentine Ntomchukwu, said they recovered the officer’s bodies and the gunboat. According to the International Business Times, a security source stated that they driver of the boat was kidnapped. ENI representatives were unavailable for comment.
On Friday, in the Nembe local government area, an unidentified gunman invaded a boat and abducted six people from a local oil services company. Prior to that, on Thursday, about seven pirates on a speedboat boarded a supply vessel and kidnapped the vessel’s master and chief engineer.
Piracy issues are only expected to worsen while Nigeria prepares for an election next February, according to intelligence experts. This is due to the election calling for more funding and some of the politicians in the race obtain their funds through criminal networks.
Although the security in the Niger Delta is better than it has been in the last decade, piracy and oil theft will remain a major security issue.