Armed men once again struck in Bayelsa State as President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Mrs. Patience Egbeni, 35, and one Kate Eni were yesterday [May 20] kidnapped by men dressed in military camouflage at Akimpelai community in Ogbia LGA, Bayelsa State. The women were said to have been abducted from their provision stores located along the riverbank. The gunmen were said to have forcibly taken the victims into a waiting speedboat to an unknown place. The abductors were said to be six in number when they stormed the community through the river at about 8.30a.m. and seized the women.
An eyewitness told journalists that: “The victims are two maternal cousins of the president. We know that they have been preparing to welcome the president after the May 29 handover. Unless they are rescued before then, their dream of welcoming their brother will be a mirage.” When contacted on the development, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Butswat Asinim, confirmed that the gunmen were dressed in military camouflage. “The gunmen were dressed in military camouflage. They went to the provision stores of the victims at the riverside and abducted them into a waiting speedboat,” he said. He said the marine and antikidnapping squad of the police including the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, had been contacted.
Disturbed by the incident, the Ogbia Clan of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, asked the kidnappers to release the women with immediate effect. The Chairman of the clan, Osaanya Osaanya, said no ransom should be paid for the freedom of the victims, “We are calling on the kidnappers to as a matter of urgency return those innocent women. We will go after them if they refuse to heed our call. We will assist security agencies to make sure that those poor women are released with immediate effect.”