Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, yesterday, claimed responsibility for the Azuzuama attack in the creek of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, during which it said 15 policemen were killed.
The Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kins Omire, had on Saturday said 12 of his men, two Inspectors, four non-commissioned officers and six constables were missing.
According to a statement by MEND, through its Spokesman, Gbomo Jomo, 15 policemen were killed, and also two of MEND’s fighters, in the shootout.
MEND said the attack was to show the Nigerian security forces that dismissed its earlier threat, Hurricane Exodus, as an empty threat what the group can do.
“For dismissing Hurricane Exodus as an empty threat, by the Nigerian security forces, heavily armed fighters from MEND at 17:00 hrs, Saturday, April 6, intercepted and engaged government security forces in a fierce gunfight lasting over 40 minutes at Azuzama, Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
“The clash, which happened on the river, left over 15 security forces dead as we also lost two of our fighters in the battle.
“We hope this encounter will serve as a lesson to Joint Task Force, JTF, from making careless utterances that cannot be backed as we remain resolute in our resumption of hostilities.”
MEND therefore advised oil companies and the public to ignore the false sense of security being peddled by JTF as well as the false comments from a “Comrade Azizi,” who claims to be the spokesman for the group.
“This person is not known to MEND, does not speak for MEND and his utterances and style do not reflect our plans and actions,” the statement said.
The security operatives are still searching for the remains of the slain policemen in the creeks.
“We are hoping that if any of them is alive, we will rescue him and those that are dead will be recovered, as search and rescue operations are ongoing. We have also deployed divers to the waters,” Bayelsa State Police Commissioner said.