The Operation Crocodile Smile military operation on Monday suffered a major loss following a boat accident that happened along the Brass Water Front in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa, leading to the reported death of four soldiers by drowning.
The service rifles belonging to the missing soldiers could not also be found in the wake of the mishap.
It was gathered that the accident, which occurred at about 10 o’clock on Monday morning, created panic among newly deployed soldiers.
An indigene of the Community simply identified as Etta, told Leadership that attempts by community youths and other soldiers to assist in a rescue operation failed as the drowned soldiers could not be found.
According to Etta, “In recent times, we have been noticing increased movement of soldiers in our area. The boat that capsized was conveying a new batch of soldiers to the water front. I was going to dispose of refuse at the waterfront and I saw uniformed soldiers struggling to rescue their colleagues in a capsize boat.
“When the confusion subsided, Four Soldiers were found to be missing with their rifles and other military gear. Some others that were rescued had their rifle missing and struggling out of the water.”
The report stated that the military authorities, as at 2pm, sought the assistance of local divers and Youths to help in the search for the missing soldiers, even as the high tide of the water impeded the search for the missing soldiers.
Confirming the incident, the State Chairman of the Maritime Union, Comrade Lyyod Sese stated that the union had received the report on the boat incident, but don’t have details on the numbers of casualty.”
Also confirming the incident, an official of Brass Local Government Council, who pleaded anonymity, stated that, “we thank God it was a natural incident.”