The attackers struck at the marine base located along Marina road, Calabar, and took away two gun boats and other weapons.
The hoodlums operated unchallenged for nearly two hours, killing at least one police officer and a private security man, officials who did not want to be quoted told PREMIUM TIMES.
One witness said two officers were killed.
A private security personnel with a popular church within the area, who simply identified himself as Ofonmbuk, said his colleague was killed by the invaders.
“I survived by the grace of God,” he said, “I had to sleep under the gutter when I saw my colleague hit by a bullet. The pirates used a superior fire power that the police could not stand them.”
The operation caused panic among residents within the riverine area.
It took the intervention of the Nigerian Navy before the pirates could be dislodged, witnesses said.
The pirates, according to a source, “came through the Calabar River in two speed boats, while some came with a bus and strategically positioned themselves along the routes leading to the armoury. It was until the Navy came and engaged them; that was when the pirates ran away.”
The police spokesman for Cross River State, Hogan Bassey, confirmed the incident, but denied that two personnel were killed.
“Yes I can confirm there was an attack early this morning and a police man was killed,” he told PREMIUM TIMES. “We are investigating the matter and hope to get to the root of it, we will make sure they are arrested and made to face the law.”
Security was stepped up in the area when our correspondent visited.