Three Dutch nationals have been abducted by unidentified gunmen in Letugbene, Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
It was learnt that the whereabouts of two Nigerians who were in company with the Dutch were unknown.
It was further learnt that the three Dutch nationals two males and a female were abducted on Sunday evening.
They were said to have been kidnapped after a visit to the palace of the traditional ruler of Iduwuni Kingdom, King Joel Ibane.
The gunmen, who allegedly used a speedboat, shot sporadically into the air with their AK-47 rifles before seizing their victims.
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide condemned the abduction, describing it as barbaric.
Spokesman for the group, Mr. Eric Omare, said the kidnap was an act of a few criminals which he said was against the collective aspirations of the Niger Delta people.
“It is unfortunate that criminal elements could kidnap foreigners who were on a charity mission on the invitation of the Dodo River Communities of Bayelsa State and facilitated by a Netherland-based Niger Delta activist, Mr. Sunny Ofeghe,” he said.
Omare said the incident was a clear case of criminality and had nothing to do with the agitation of the Niger Delta.
He said preliminary investigations by the IYC showed that the kidnappers could have come from Ekeremor and the Southern Ijaw local government areas.
Omare added that the IYC had made contacts with traditional rulers, community leaders and other Ijaw leaders to ensure the quick release of the victims.
The spokesman said, “They must ensure that every home, family and community in the area is combed to ensure the immediate release of the three Dutch nationals, one of who is said to be asthmatic.
“The IYC, working with Nigerian security agencies, wants to assure the families of the Dutch and the Dutch Government that the kidnapped victims will regain their freedom soon.
“This unfortunate incident does not represent the character of the Niger Delta people. Niger Deltans are law abiding and hospitable people. We will make sure that the abductors are brought to justice in order to serve as deterrent to others.”
He called for the strict implementation of the anti-kidnapping laws of Bayelsa and Delta states which prescribed death penalty for kidnappers.
“This is the only way to arrest the increasing rate of kidnappings in the region,” he added.
The Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta confirmed the abduction of the three Dutch.
A statement by the outfit’s Media Coordinator, Lt.Col. Mustapha Anka, reads, “On Sunday at about 2pm, three persons, two males and one female, were returning from an inspection of a health facility built by Chevron. They were without security guards when they were kidnapped at Letugbene in Ekeremor area of Bayelsa.”