How militants invaded Delta community, killed soldier, stole machine gun
…Monarch gives blow-by-blow account of attack
…Niger Delta youths’ patience running out – PANDEF
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Perez Brisibe and Sunday Bomadi
THE traditional head of Ogbogbagbene, in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Ebikeme Ogbemudia, has narrated how suspected militants stormed the community, last Thursday, killing a soldier and carting away a General Purpose Machine Gun, GPMG, from a military checkpoint in the riverine settlement.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the militants, preparing to establish a camp around the area, crept in on the soldiers and wreaked havoc after monitoring them for some time.
Ogbemudia, who disclosed that the people were still traumatized by the gun battle between the invaders and the soldiers, said: “What exactly happened is that I was woken by sudden gunshots around 2.am because my house is very close to the checkpoint. The shooting went on for a long time. Initially, I thought pirates had come for the 75-horse power engine boats packed at the waterfront. Then the shooting stopped suddenly and I heard a very loud cry.
“l tried to call to the sergeant in charge of the unit but he did not pick his phone. My uncle, who was staying with me, and I, proceeded to the point where the loud cry was coming from. We got there and saw a civil defence officer attached to the checkpoint crying and rolling on the ground with the two legs paralyzed. We helped him up and asked to know what happened. He pointed towards the checkpoint and said one soldier was already dead.
“When we got to the spot, we saw the soldier lying dead. We went back and helped the civil defence officer with a stretcher and took him to a vehicle. At this point, the sergeant in charge and two other soldiers arrived.
“Then we asked about what happened and the soldier said that the attackers crept in and suddenly opened fire on them and they responded. He said his rifle failed to shoot and he retreated to get another rifle and, by the time he returned, they had already succeeded and taken away the machine gun and two rifles and sped off.”
Meanwhile, the Eric Omare-led Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, and Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, FHRACC, have condemned the attack stressing that it was not in tune with the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle.
According to Omare, “This action is barbaric and highly unacceptable. This killing is not in tune with the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle and has nothing to do with the struggle. It is a clear case of criminality and a setback to efforts towards peace and stability to the region”.
On its part, FHRACC’s national president, Alaowei Cleric said: “We condemn in its entirety, the action of the said gunmen who perpetrated this act. This is one attack coming too many. We commiserate with the army council over the loss of its member and extend our heartfelt condolence to the immediate family of the deceased, who lost his precious life in defence of our collective existence; we appeal to the governments at all levels to fish out the culprits”
IPDI, in a statement by the national president, Austin Ozobo, asserted: “We are against the killing of soldier and stealing of military weapon by anybody in Delta, no matter the reason. We condemn this act in its entirety and say that this is not Niger Delta struggle, but criminality.”
Meanwhile, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, rose from a meeting, on Friday, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, warning the Federal Government that the patience of youths and stakeholders of the Niger Delta was running out over what it called its lackadaisical approach to the group’s 16-point demand.
PANDEF, in a communique signed by the convener and South-South, Chief Edwin Clark, noted with regret the failure of government to take action to tackle the urgent matters of the Niger Delta as contained in its 16-point demand, adding: “As a consequence of the government’s sluggish approach, the patience of the youth and other stakeholders is running out.”
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