UNIDENTIFIED gunmen, suspected to be a detachment of the Operation Delta Safe, also known as JTF, yesterday invaded communities in Oluasiri clan of Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, killing of a two months old baby, her mother and two others.
An eyewitness who craved anonymity said the uniformed men entered the community without warning started shooting sporadically and in the process “bulled pierced through the two months old baby before hitting the nursing mother.”
“At the end of the operation that lasted for about eight hours, with attacks from land and water, the military left two others dead and carted away money belonging to some prominent members of the community.
“According to what I heard after they had left, that they came in search for some armed militants that were said to be taking refuge in the community. And that they were offensive because the said armed militants were becoming lawless and untouchable.”
A statement jointly signed by the President of Oluasiri Development Union, Deacon Gamage Difurotogu, and the President of Oluasiri Youth Federation, Kienworio Tanga, gave the names of the victims of the attack as Mr Wilson Peterson, Beauty Christian Gamage and her six months old baby.
According to the statement, the men in Nigeria military uniform in a recklessness manner came six gunboats, allegedly searching for some criminals suspected to be sea pirates using Ben-Ama and Tengele-Ama in Oluasiri as their hide-out.
The community further described the action of the suspected military men as “reckless and nefarious”, and called on the Federal Government and Civil Liberty Organisations (CLO) to carry out an investigation in order to unravel the mysteries behind the ugly incident.
Reacting to the incident in Yenagoa, the chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Bayelsa Chapter, Chief Nengi James condemned the invasion describing it as barbaric and unprofessional.
According to Nengi James, “the unwarranted killing of innocent people in Oluasiri and some other communities of the Niger Delta, is unacceptable. It is an act against humanity. The Federal Government must immediately set up an investigative team to look into the incident.
“The Military should, instead of reckless killing, adopt intelligence gathering mode and determine if those being sought are actually in the community. Now that they have killed innocent people, did they arrest the suspected criminals?” He quarried.
Also reacting, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, in a statement signed by its factional president, Barr. Eric Omare condemned the invasion, describing it as a deliberate act carried out by the military to maim the people in the guise of looking for suspected criminals.
According to the statement, “it is only in the Niger Delta that soldiers routinely kill innocent people in the name of looking for criminals.
“The information available to the IYC is to the effect that among others; a woman and her daughter were killed in the process of the invasion and several others injured. The soldiers were alleged to be after suspected criminals in the communities.
“The IYC calls on the military authorities to comply with the rules of engagement in their operations in the Niger Delta. It is only in the Niger Delta that soldiers routinely kill innocent people in the name of looking for criminals. This is condemnable and unacceptable.
” It is illegal and unconstitutional for the life of anybody to be taken without the due process of law. This is one killing too many in Ijaw land and must stop.
“The IYC call on President Buhari who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Minister of Defence to take all necessary actions to immediately bring to the justice the military officers involved in this act of criminality.
“We wish to warn that the consistent invasion and killing of innocent Niger Delta people are capable of leading to another round of hostilities in the Niger Delta region. The youths of the Niger Delta region would not sit back and allow their communities to be recklessly invaded and people killed like animals.”
All attempts by Nigerian Tribune to get the reaction of the authorities of the Operation Delta Safe proved abortive, as messages sent to its spokesman, Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, through WhatsApp yesterday were not replied.
Further attempts to reach him through a phone call at the time of filing this report also failed, as his phone lines were switched off.
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