YENAGOA - Nigerian militants ambushed a police boat in the oil-producing Niger Delta region over the weekend, and 12 policemen are missing from the boat, police said on Sunday.
Police Commissioner Kingsley Omire said the boat carrying 50 police officials was headed to a funeral late on Friday when it developed engine problems in one of the winding creaks of swampy delta region, home to Africa's biggest oil industry.
"The craft ... was a soft target for some hoodlums, who we have confirmed were part of a militant group that was supposed to be enjoying an amnesty," he said.
A Nigerian security source, who could not be named, said the 12 were very likely all dead.
Attacks in the restive Niger Delta region have been fewer since an amnesty for militants in 2009, although kidnapping, piracy, large-scale oil theft and pipeline sabotage still occur.
Omire said police believed the attackers to be a faction of a militant group that was disgruntled over not receiving a share of the amnesty money.