By Davies Iheamnachor
KALAEKULEAMA—SOLDIERS attached to Operation Delta Safe, ODS, chasing oil thieves, have shot dead a fisherman, Mr. Sunday Bassey, set ablaze residential apartments and the only learning institution, Community Primary School, Ke, at Kalaekuleama, Degema Local Government Area, Rivers State.
Distressed villagers, who narrated their horrible experiences to NDV, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book.
We don’t lodge oil thieves—Community leader
A community leader, Chief Joel Asobari, who denied that the community was harbouring oil thieves, said: “We were in our house when JTF came with one gunboat and another speedboat. The tow were loaded with armed soldiers.
“When they came, they said the residents should vacate the community, that they want to burn down the houses. They went into action without listening to our pleas and they rendered us homeless.
“We pleaded with them; the next thing we saw was that they started burning house and they molested me. They shot one Mr. Sunday Aniete Bassey, a fisherman from Akwa Ibom State.
“We are begging the government to come to our aid. We are now without clothes and homeless. When it rains, it beats us.
”The only school we built was burnt to ashes, now our children have no school again. We want the government to intervene and help us out.”
Asobari wondered why the military would sack the entire community for a crime the people did not commit.
They attacked me, razed my home—Mrs. Gloria
In addition, a woman simply identified as Madam Gloria, expressed shock that soldiers burnt her house and wares, including crayfish, despite her pleas.
Gloria said: “I have stayed here for about 15 years; we are into fishing. I also run a bar in this village. On that day, as I was coming back from fishing, I saw a gunboat. I asked them what the problem was, they beat me up and asked me to pack my things and leave the community.
“As I started packing my things, they entered and set everything ablaze. I am a fisherwoman. They burnt everything I use for fishing and they destroyed all my crayfish. I do not have house again.”
However, spokesman of Operation Delta Safe, Major Eromosele Unuakhalu, said the operation was in line with anti-illegal oil bunkering operation in the area.
he asserted that no house was burnt, but that only makeshift thatch houses used for storage of the illegal refined products were destroyed in the community.