Tragedy struck on Monday in the camp of military Personnel involved in the ongoing military operation against militants, code-named, ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’, as four soldiers were feared drowned following a boat accident along the Brass water front, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The incident which occurred at about 10am on Monday, created panic among newly-deployed soldiers in the state.
An indigene of the community, identified simply as Etta, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria said attempts by youths and other soldiers to assist in a rescue operation failed as the drowned soldiers could not be immediately located.
Etta said, “In recent times, we have been noticing increased movement of soldiers in our area. The boat that capsized was conveying a new batch of soldiers to the water front.
“I was going to dispose of refuse at the waterfront and I saw uniformed soldiers struggling to rescue their colleagues in a capsized boat.
“When the confusion subsided, four soldiers were found to be missing with their rifles and other military gear. Those that were rescued had their rifles missing and struggling out of the water. ”
Efforts by local divers and youths contacted by the military high command to assist in the search for the missing soldiers and their riffles was hampered by high tidal waves.
But one of the youths confirmed that the high tide of the water impeded the search for the missing soldiers.
Mr Lyyod Sese, the State Chairman of the Maritime Union,confirmed the incident.
“We do not have details of the number of casualties,” Sese said.
The authorities of the Joint Military Taskforce known as “Operation Delta Safe”, is yet to comment on the incident.