Slain Soldiers: Bayelsa Residents Flee over Fear of Military Reprisal

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Residents of Foropa, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State where three soldiers were killed on Monday have started fleeing the area for fear of reprisal from security operatives, it was learnt on Thursday.

A gang of militants operating in a speedboat reportedly ambushed and killed the soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force (JTF) and carted away their weapons.

However, it was learnt that the state Governor, Seriake Dickson had prevailed on those remaining in the community to stay, assuring them that the Nigerian nation would ensure their protection.

Confirming the development yesterday, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Mr. Joshua Macaiver, noted that the community had been living in fear since the incident.

He absolved the youths of the community of the killings, stating they would collaborate with the government and security agencies to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

The community leader who came with his chiefs, said already, Dickson appealed to the people to return to their community as he has the assurance of the federal government that no harm would befall them.

“The people of Foropa have fled the community for fear of invasion by soldiers. Dickson has urged the people to return to their community. As we speak, there is nobody in the community for fear that soldiers would invade Foropa. The governor believes the community is not part of what happened,” he said.

While commiserating with the federal government and families of the three soldiers over the incident, Macaiver said the attack occurred at a time the council was working hard to ensure that Southern Ijaw becomes one of the most peaceful areas in the state.

He said the people of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area would not rest on their oars until those behind the killing of the three soldiers are brought to justice, stressing that, the local government would not condone any form of violence and criminal activities that would threaten the peace of the area.

In his remarks, Apoi-kori the 7thof Apoi kingdom, Chief Ebi Llyod Alamene, also decried the incident and expressed the community’s readiness to go into the creeks and surrounding villages to fish out those who committed the crime.

“Foropa Community is not a militant abode and we do not harbour criminals and hoodlums. The JTF has been with us for over five years and so they know how peaceful we are. These persons came from the river and operated and left so we too are looking for them.

“Concerning the incident that happened on May 10, our hearts are bleeding. This is because we don’t believe in violence in Foropa. The Army has come to settle down with us and Foropa has been peaceful. We condemn the killing by all standards and we will never support it.

“We can never be for it. We are ready to cooperate with the government to go into the creeks and the surrounding villages, wherever they are to fish them out and hand them over to the government. We are a harmless people; we don’t have guns, but we can give information,” he said.