Posted by News Express | 17 November 2014 | 3,406 times
A group of Nigerian journalists kidnapped over the weekend by agents of untouchable ex-Niger Delta warlord Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo have spoken of their ordeal after regaining their freedom. The group included a two-man Channels Television crew and about 13 other journalists.
Channels Television’s energy correspondent, Olu Philips and cameraman, Polynus Odedeyi, said they were returning from an official assignment when they were abducted. They had gone to cover an event at the Ogedengbe gas plant in Warri, Delta State.
President Goodluck Jonathan was earlier expected to commission the $16 billion export processing zone project, but the event was called off.
In a telephone interview, Philip spoke from the Naval Base in Warri, recounting their experience in the hands of the kidnappers.
He said that the crew had boarded a boat on their way back to town after covering an event when they were accustomed by the kidnappers off the creeks of Gbaramatu in an area called Escravos, in Delta State’s riverine area.
According to Philips, “Around 11:00 a.m., we saw another speed boat coming behind us. They caught up with us, asked us to stop and surrounded us.
“They had guns with them and they asked us where we were coming from and we told them we were there to cover an event. They said we were spies and they collected our camera and put it in another boat, after hitting the camera man.
“They made some calls and decided to take us to Gbaramatu. They took us to a chief popularly called Tompolo.
“They beat up some other persons that were not journalists. After beating them they handed them rifles and asked us to stand behind them, that we were criminals and that they saw the rifles and pistols with us. They took photographs of us and started sharing it on social media.”
Philips disclosed that the abductors made several threats that they were going to kill them and throw their bodies into the river.
He further said that they were held hostage till about 6-7pm before some naval officials arrived and they were handed over to them.
•Adapted from a Channels report. Photo shows Channels Cameraman, Polynus Odedeyi (in black) and some of the other journalistsafter being freed by Tompolo’s men.
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