The outlaws were said to have given government 12 hours ultimatum, failing which they will harm the passengers while Itsekiri villages in Warri North would be attacked.
The development, it was gathered, followed persistent agitation by the Ijaw indigenes in Warri North, who have been demanding for Ijaw slot for the chairmanship seat of Warri North Local Government Area with headquarters in Koko.
It was gathered that from Sapele waterside that the thug boat with over 300 passengers, which left the harbor, was yet to get to its destination, as armed men suspected to be Ijaw youths seized the boat and evacuated its occupants.
The armed abductors, were said to have threatened to kill the stranded passengers, now being held in the swampy forest of Warri/Benin River.
Two Itsekiri leaders, the Special Project Director, Sapele/Abigborodo Road Project, Mr. Francis Maku, confirmed the story, while Itsekiri Youth President and member of the Delta Waterways, Mr. Newuwumi Omolubi, said that the Itsekiris were mobilizing to launch a counter attack to free their brothers and sisters being held hostage.
Omolubi confirmed that the combined team of the Army and Navy was already patrolling the waterways with a view to dislodging the Ijaw youths that laid siege to the waterways