Nigeria military burns homes over pirates attack

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Soldiers stationed at the Beneside Flow station invaded Lutugbene community and reportedly torched more than 20 homes in the Niger Delta community after suspected sea pirates attacked their boat.

According to Lutugbene community leader, Austin Ozobo, who spoke to AFP, the soldiers claimed to be on the manhunt for the suspected sea pirates that allegedly killed six persons

Gunmen on Sunday attacked a gunboat escorting a vessel in the volatile waters off the Nigerian coast, a Nigerian security source told AFP.

“During the ensuing gun battle, four of the soldiers and two civilians on board the vessel were killed,” the source said.

Security forces launched a manhunt for the assailants focused on the nearby community of Lutugbene in the wake of the attack.

According to the community leader, “The soldiers ended up burning a minimum of 21 houses.”

The security source who confirmed the village was targeted said military personnel “torched houses owned by persons who are sea pirates”.

Nigeria’s Delta region has long been a hotbed of piracy with armed criminal gangs striking at ships from their hideouts among myriad onshore creeks.

The area is home to most of the country’s vast oil reserves but despite decades of production, oil wealth has failed to trickle down to local communities.

The waters of the Gulf of Guinea are some of the most pirate-infested in the world according to maritime security experts.

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