• News - South South - Delta
  • Updated: March 24, 2024

Delta massacre: Monarch recounts ordeal with militants linked to soldier killings

Delta massacre: Monarch recounts ordeal with militants linke

HRH Ayibaikie Aseimighen Ofongo, the Paramount Ruler of Bayelsa State's Igbomotoru Communities, has revealed a horrifying narrative of his exile from the village, which was engineered by a terrorist gang now known for the recent deaths of Delta State troops.

Speaking to media in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, Ofongo described how the violent group that had long terrorised the Southern Ijaw local government area finally pushed him into exile three years ago.

The king, who is also a retired army officer, emphasised his unwillingness to ignore the gang's illegal acts in his nation.

He disclosed that following his exile, the militant commander took control of Igbomotoru and maintained authority until the recent event in Okuama, in which troops were murdered.

Ofongo applauded the current military activities targeting the militant group in the Igbomotoru Communities.

He stated that the military's efforts have been directed towards apprehending the elusive insurgent commander and his accomplices, demonstrating a deliberate and targeted approach to restoring peace and order in the region.

He said, “My Community, Igbomotoru, for some time now, have had some internal problems; there is a group that went and brought militants to the community to dissolve the ruling class and at the same time leading to vandalizing national assets of oil companies in our area, which I opposed. I said if we had any problem with the oil companies, we should apply the normal system of communication so that they could look at those issues, but this advice did not go through with the group.

“And since that time, there have been problems, based on the differences we had. For almost three years now, I have not been allowed to visit my community. My life was threatened; I had to escape from the community. I only went to the community when I heard about the death of my relations.

“From where I’m hiding, I got telephone calls from both home and from some other relations and friends on what happened at Igbomotoru; what I was told was that military men came into the community, particularly on Igbomotoru ll, Igbomotoru is on both sides of River Sangana. So, when I had this issue, I enquired from sources. I was told there was an Army invasion of the community, I was told a militant leader from Igbomotoru by the name Endurance Amagbain went to Delta and some military officers who were there to make peace were shot dead, that was why the military invaded our community last Sunday.

"The Army troops that came, they know where the person they wanted was and they went there, and some miscreants who are members of the militant gang came out and wanted to know what was happening in their usual militant way, and there was opening of fire from the Army, and some of them were killed. So, it was only members of the militant gang that were killed, not the natives.

“I have previously written several petitions to both the presidency, the state government and the security agencies about the activities of this militant gang, and we attended meetings with the governor, we also had time with the oil companies' representatives, because when they started, they started with the oil companies and then rolled back to me, claiming I had been deposed and all that, so all those activities were reported to the government, and so many meetings were held by the government and oil companies to resolve that, but the people continued to do what they thought was good for them until we reached this state. It was my opposition to this militant group that made them force me out of the community.

"As a Paramount Ruler and somebody who has served in the Nigerian Army and retired, I always report any act of lawlessness to the authorities, if not, that means I am involved. Army operation at Igbomotoru Community is just after the fleeing militant gang at Igbomotoru ll, where their leader resides and commits all these crimes. In fact, they have not crossed to Igbomotoru 1, but because of fear, people have deserted the entire community.

“You see the military has done well, what happened to the military, even during my time as a soldier, you cannot go and tempt the lion and you will think he will sit down and begin to look at you, the militant gang went to Delta to kill army personnel and the army came to kill them, they didn’t move from house to house in Igbomotoru to kill everybody.

“I am not against government taking any action in respect to what has happened, because lives have been lost. It was only the houses where the prime suspect in the killing of soldiers stayed that were burnt not innocent people’s houses. That is why I appeal to the federal government to establish army formation in Igbomotoru Community, it will help checkmate the criminality.

"So, I urge the army to continue to be civil as they are hunting for their suspected killers of soldiers because the community is ready to assist them to ensure that all suspects involved in the dastardly act are apprehended.”

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