Soldiers Sack Ogoni Community
Soldiers Sack Ogoni Community, Kill 2, 5000 Flee Homes
JTF Denies Involvement
SOLDIERS suspected to be operatives of the Joint military Task Force (JTF) in the early hours of Tuesday, December 2, allegedly sacked Nyo-be Beeri, an Ogoni community of about 10,000, in Khana Local Government Area of Nigeria's Rivers State, killing two, and injuring scores of others.
But the Spokesman for the JTF in the state, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, has denied any involvement of the special security outfit in the alleged attack on the Ogoni community.
An eye-witness account however, had it that some soldiers invaded the rustic rural community at around 3.00 A.M and shot sporadically at all directions. In the process, two Ogoni youths were allegedly shot dead and their corpses taken away by the soldiers.
Unknown number of huts and houses were allegedly also destroyed in the attack.
Apparently shaken, the village folks have fled their homes, and are taling shelter either in nearby communities or in the bush.
Community Leader, Mr. Felix Deezia, who confirmed the attack in a telephone interview with our correspondent claimed that over 5,000 of their people were taking refuge in the bush.
According to him, ''from all indications, the death toll is rising. I just recived information now that one other person has died. We cannot acertain the exact figures. Some of the persons arrested by the soldiers were taken to a police station and paraded as armed robbers and militants''
Insisting that their men were not involved in the attack, the JTF spokesman said: ''In line with the transformation process going on in the Nigerian Armed Forces, no operation would be conducted without the knowledge and explicit approval of the appropriate superior authority''.
Continuing, Lt.-Col. Musa said, ''i checked and re-checked at the JTF headquarters and all the sectors particularly Sector 2, where the incident was alleged to have taken place, nothing like that ever happened. As to parading suspects, nobody in JTF settimng has the mandate to do so except the Office of the Spokesman. I'm sure that did not happen and will never happen''.
Adding, he said, ''on the whole, the report should be disregarded''.
Meanwhile, efforts to get the state Commissioner of Police, Bala Hassan, for comment did not pay off. As at 1.18 P.M when our correspondent called his line, he did not pick the call. Earlier, a male voice on the phone of the Spokesperson for the police in the state, Mrs. Rita Inoma-Abbey, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) said she was upstairs for a meeting.