The Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice has sentenced two Nigerian pirates, Titus Ezenna, 44, and Michael Oputa, 38, to jail at the Monrovia Central Prison for their alleged involvement in pirate activities in the Sierra Leone-Liberia waters.

Magistrate Ben Barco of the Monrovia City Court ordered the immediate detention of the defendants upon their appearance in court on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

Prior to their incarceration, the men were arrested on July 24, 2023, on the high sea, investigated, and subsequently charged with multiple crimes including criminal conspiracy, piracy, armed robbery, and theft of property.

According to court documents, the victims, including Li Tian Guo, a Chinese national, and other crew members of the fishing vessel Shenghai-2, were attacked at sea by Oputa and Ezenna, along with others who are yet to be identified. During the attack, the victims suffered losses of both property and cash.

Chinese national Li Tian Guo recounted his ordeal, stating that on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at 10 am, while the crew members of the Shenghai-2 fishing vessel—consisting of six Chinese nationals and 17 Sierra Leoneans—were engaged in their routine fishing activities on the Sierra Leonean waters, a small speedboat carrying unknown individuals armed with weapons (pistols and rifles) approached their vessel.

The assailants opened fire, boarded the vessel, fired several rounds, held the crew at gunpoint, conducted a thorough search of both the crew members and the vessel, and subsequently made off with their belongings and cash.

The victim further described that the Liberian Coast Guard swiftly responded, apprehending two suspects, and successfully rescuing the crew. The suspects were then transported to the Liberia Coast Guard Base in Monrovia.