CLO protests soldiers’ invasion of Bayelsa community

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According to report, the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State, has protested the alleged invasion and destruction of Sand-Sand community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by troops of the Operation Delta Safe.

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To this end, the CLO has petitioned the Federal Government and the National Assembly to probe the invasion to ascertain the true position.

Aggrieved indigenes of the community had on Friday cried out over alleged invasion by armed soldiers in search of suspected members of a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers.

The community had alleged that though the soldiers neither made any arrests nor discovered the suspected militants, they allegedly destroyed many houses, churches and schools.

It had also claimed that the incident, which occured last Monday, left the community deserted with hundreds of indigenes displaced while others sought refuge in neighbouring Ogbolomabiri in Nembe.

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But the authorities of the Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, had in a statement said that the troops conducted patrols in Sand-Sand fishing camp in Bayelsa and discovered suspected militants’ camp.

The Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Lt. Col. Laolu Dawodu, had said the militants had regrouped to resuscitate a camp earlier destroyed.

He said, “Our troops engaged the suspected militants and killed one of them popularly called Edoboy.

“He was one of the notorious kingpins on the wanted list of security agencies who had been terrorising innocent members of the communities in the area.”

But the CLO, in a petition dated November 10, 2016, and addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representative and the President of the Senate, through the member representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency of Bayelsa, Douye Diri, condemned the position of the JTF.

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The CLO, therefore, called on the National Assembly leadership to embark on a fact-finding mission to the allegedly destroyed community to verify the true position.

The rights organisation said its fact finding visit showed a contrary situation.

The CLO condemned the alleged desperate attempts by the military to divert the people’s attention from the culpable acts it committed against the community.

”We expect that the military should have gone after those involved in criminal activities rather than going after the innocent, peaceful and unarmed persons in the community,” the petition said.

The petition signed by the State Chairman of the CLO, Chief Nengi James, and the Acting Research Secretary, Kenneth Okorodas, added, “The National Assembly should pay a visit to the community to ascertain the level of destruction and displacement of persons as well as ascertain the claim of the military.

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“We call on them to commence investigation into the destruction and invasion of the community and sanction those involved as it is a crime against humanity and an infringement on the people’s rights.

“We call on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to consider the rebuilding of the destroyed community for the purpose of resettling the displaced persons, particularly women and children.

“We equally urged the Federal Government to compensate members of the community who have lost valuables worth millions of naira, especially fishing gears and commodities.”

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