Gunmen kidnap octogenarian father of Bayelsa lawmaker

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FILE PHOTO

Simon Utebor

Sme suspected gunmen on Saturday abducted an octogenarian, Mr. Watson Iti, in Bayelsa State.

The victim is the father of the lawmaker representing Brass Constituency II in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Watson-Alfred Belemote.

It was learnt that the lawmaker’s father was kidnapped at 9:25am by four gunmen operating along the Okpoama-Egweama waterways in the state.

The victim, who hails from Okpoama Kingdom of Brass Local Government Area, was reportedly whisked away while conveying the corpse of his late wife from Okpoama mortuary to Egweama, the deceased’s maternal home, for burial.

The late woman was Belemote’s step mother,

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Watson is a respected chief in Okpoama Kingdom. His wife died and her corpse was deposited at the Okpoama mortuary.

“On Saturday, he was taking the corpse to her maternal home at Egweama, which is about seven minutes’ away from Okpoama, when gunmen attacked them. The gunmen were four and they operated on a 75 horsepower boat. The chief was travelling with the casket bearing his wife’s corpse on a 115 horsepower speedboat. The gunmen shot four times at them and forced them to stop.”

The source said when the assailants approached the boat, they inflicted machete cuts on the driver, stole handsets and other valuables belonging to the passengers in the boat and whisked away the aged Watson to an unknown destination.

Confirming the incident, the lawmaker asked the kidnappers to release his father unconditionally, alleging that the abductors “were within the community.”

He vowed that he would not pay any ransom to them, adding that efforts were being made to locate his father and the kidnappers.

Belemote said, “I am asking them to release my father unconditionally because the abduction was done by people within. How can they kidnap an old man who was going to bury his dead wife?”

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident.

He said the police were investigating the development.

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