Call it faith, you are right, as the family of Mr. Lucky Ebebi, one of the 12 policemen presumed dead after an attack by ex-militants at Azuzama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State had cause to smile, he resurfaced alive yesterday. In fact, his name, Lucky, may have played a divine role in his release.
The 12 policemen were ambushed in last Saturday’s attack which the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility.
But the police faulted the group’s claim. Ten bodies were recovered by the military Joint Task Force (JTF) and police’s rescue team on Tuesday. When the 10 bodies of the policemen were recovered and brought to Yenagoa, Mr. Victor Ebebi, the senior brother to Lucky, who was among members of families that besieged the Yenagoa and Government jetty in the state capital to receive (the bodies) stated that he did not believe his brother was dead.
Victor, talking philosophical, expressed optimism that his brother would come back alive to his family because he was likely to be among the two policemen said to have been kidnapped by the ex-militants. Just like the elder Ebebi predicted, Lucky was actually whisked away by the ex-militants who took him to their camp inside the creeks.
According to investigations, Ebebi was freed by the ex-militants on Wednesday night after an undisclosed amount was paid. He was said to have been detained at the ex-militants’ camp with two other expatriates, who were kidnapped few weeks ago from a ship. Following the heat generated by the killing of the policemen, the ex-militants freed Ebebi and the expatriates.
Their freedom, after payment of ransom, was also made possible because of the health condition of Ebebi and the expatriates. In an attempt to escape arrest as security agencies cordoned off the river, the ex-militants were said to have accepted ransom after one of the expatriates reportedly died. Ebebi was said to have found his way to Yenagoa where he was taken to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and treated for gunshot injury.
He was later discharged and reported at the police command’s headquarters where some senior police officers debriefed him. Sources at the FMC confirmed that one of the policemen attacked by ex-militants was brought to the hospital and was treated for gunshot injury before he was discharged.
Meanwhile, the police team investigating the killings is close to unveiling the culprits as preliminary reports gathered, may be having some success.