The Barrister Eric Omare-led Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, has raised alarm over an ongoing invasion, sporadic shooting and arrest of community leaders and innocent members of Ijaw communities between Delta and Bayelsa states boundary, along the Forcados River by the Nigerian military.
In a statement made available to GbaramatuVoice, Omare lamented that communities such as Bomadi, Tuomo, Tamigbe, Bilabiri, Toru-Ndoro, Bulu-Ndoro, Ogbugbagebne, Ojobo, Torugbene, Letugbene and other communities along the Forcados River have been under heavy military siege, adding that movement of residents of these communities have been highly restricted and economic activities paralyzed.
He alleged that one Mr. Suka Andy, a community Chairman, Yerekeme H. Afamukoro, communities Vice Chairman, and Ebikadumene Afesuku, Youth President, all of Toru-Ndoro community of Bayelsa State were arrested by military officers on Saturday evening, adding that similar action was taken by the military in Bulu-Ndoro community of Delta State where the community Chairman, Miebibo Agumu was also arrested.
Omare raised alarm that the military men who were initially at communities where their man was murdered have extended their sporadic shooting, maiming and invasion to Letugbene community in faraway Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, stressing that this has made residents to desert the community and take refuge in the bush.
He further alleged that the angry military men have been threatening to burn down the house of a traditional Chief at Letugbene community.
“At the time of issuing this press statement, military officers have invaded Letugbene Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and shooting sporadically.
“We were informed from Letugbene that the community has been deserted and residents now taking refuge in the bush. The military is threatening to burn down the house of a traditional Chief at Letugbene Community. Also only yesterday, Mr. Philip Kase, former IYC Director of Mobilization was attacked on the Ogbugbagbene to Bomadi road and his car badly damaged. There are tales of sorry everywhere!”, Omare lamented.
Omare called on the military to respect fundamental human rights of the residents of the Ijaw communities affected, adding that there was no basis for invading an entire community and arresting people indiscriminately in the guise of looking for suspected criminals.
He said, “The idea of invading an entire community while looking for few criminal elements is strange and only applies by the military in the Niger Delta region especially Ijaw communities. This is unacceptable and must be stop. The IYC therefore calls on the military to stop the invasion, vacate all communities under military siege and release Ijaw community leaders under arrest.”
While commiserating with the Nigerian military on the loss of an officer, Omare further called the military to restraint and adhere strictly to the rules of engagement in their actions, stressing that invading an entire community and arresting people indiscriminately in the guise of looking for suspected criminals was not solution to security challenge.