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Army initiates peace move for Rivers warring communities

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The 6 Division of Nigerian Army has given assurance that the crisis between Bomu and Lewe communities in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers will soon be resolved.

Col. Aminu Iliyasu, the Division’s Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, said that the division had ignited peace talks between the communities.

Iliyasu disclosed this at the commencement of the peace meeting between the warring communities at the divisional headquarters in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Newsmen report that violence started when two rival illegal oil bunkering site operators clashed over control of market share.

The violence allegedly left no fewer than 14 persons dead and properties destroyed in the mayhem that lasted many days.

Iliyasu said that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Maj.-Gen. Jamil Sarham, initiated the peace talks to put an end to the killings and destruction of properties in the communities.

“The GOC led a delegation for an on-the-spot assessment to the two communities to personally see the level of damage and carnage that befell them.

“The delegation visited the two communities towards finding lasting solution to the issues that caused the mayhem as part of the army’s civil-military cooperation.

“After the on the ground assessment, the delegation met both warring communities, who agreed to meet at the 6 Division for mediation talks.

“Lewe community has honoured that invitation with their presence here today, but unfortunately, Bomu community couldn’t make it for the peace meeting,” he said.

Iliyasu said the meeting was not organised to identify who was right or wrong but to ensure a peace deal was reached between the warring parties.

He said the army would fix another convenient date for the two parties to meet and promised that lasting peace would return to the communities.

“We want peace not just in the two communities but in Rivers State generally. We don’t want anybody killed, maimed or property destroyed,” he said.

The Chairman of Gokana Local Government Council, Paul Kobani, said that aside the army peace moves, the council had inaugurated a committee to look into the remote causes of the crisis.

“But unfortunately the committee has not achieved much because both Bomu and Lewe communities have not done enough to show that they want peace.

“We are here today and Bomu people are absent but we will not relent. We thank the GOC for taking the bold step to return peace to the communities,” he said.


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