Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Friday claimed responsibility for Thursday's killing of four policemen in oil-rich Bayelsa state.
In a statement emailed to the media, the Niger Delta's largest militant group said its fighters killed the policemen in an attack at marine police checkpoint.
The spokesman of the state police command, Eguavoen Emokpai, confirmed the killing in a message sent to journalists on Thursday night, saying ''they were killed at Nembe Creek when unknown gunmen in a speedboat opened fire on them at their duty post.''
The MEND statement was silent on the reported killing of four soldiers in a similar attack in the state also on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the group has said it is in touch with the crew members of a Dutch-registered cargo ship, MV Breeze Clipper, who were abducted on 28 Feb. when suspected pirates attacked the ship anchored 3 nautical miles off Fairway Bouy in the oil city of Port Harcourt.
''We are in contact with the abductors of Captain Pikus Viktor, chief engineer Melnikov Slava and crew member Frederick Villamor taken off a Dutch registered reefer, "MV Breeze Clipper"...The kidnappers have offered to hand these sailors who are all in good health over to one of our camps in Rivers State.
''We are considering this offer as these men were not captured from a vessel related to the Nigerian oil industry. The master and chief engineer are Russian while the remaining crew member is from the Philippines,'' MEND said.
Last month, MEND also claimed an attack on an AGIP oil pipeline in Bayelsa, saying it marked the beginning of a fresh attacks in the oil region, which has witnessed a relative calm since 2009 when the government's amnesty programme was embraced by many militants.
-0- PANA SEG 2Mar2012