YENAGOA, Nigeria (AFP) – Security agents Tuesday found 11 bodies of policemen declared missing at the weekend in Nigeria’s southern Bayelsa state, police and army spokesmen said.
One officer remains unaccounted for.
State police spokesman Alex Akhigbe told AFP that the bodies were taken to a morgue in the state capital Yenagoa.
Witnesses said some of the bodies recovered along the creeks and waterways of the oil-rich state were burnt beyond recognition, mutilated and stripped of their uniforms and rifles.
The Friday attack by speedboat came two days after the main militant group in the Niger Delta region, MEND, allegedly threatened to resume attacks over the conviction of presumed leader Henry Okah in South Africa.
Police however have linked the ambush to a dispute between an ex-militant and his gang over improperly distributed payments from a 2009 amnesty deal.
Authorities said the attack occurred while police were escorting the ex-militant to his mother’s burial.
One of the police boats broke down on the way and was a “soft target”, according to Bayelsa police commissioner Kingsley Omire.
A South African court jailed Okah for 24 years on March 26 following his conviction over twin car bomb attacks on Independence Day in Abuja in 2010. Okah has permanent residency in South Africa.
Okah was an alleged leader of MEND, an umbrella group which claimed to be fighting for fairer distribution of oil revenue in Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude producer.