Posted by News Express | 10 January 2018 | 1,355 times
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Monday condemned the murder and beheading of a security operative negotiating disarmament of militants at Toru-Ndoro in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Residents of the coastal community started fleeing the area on January 4 following the alleged beheading of a security operative by militants.
Mr Eric Omare, IYC President, who made the condemnation in a statement issued in Yenagoa, pledged to collaborate in fishing out the culprits. But he however decried the harassment and intimidation of innocent residents by soldiers in search of the culprits.
He claimed that there were reports of ongoing military bombardment of Toru-Ndoro Community from Saturday January 6.
“The IYC has received several distress calls from residents and indigenes of Toru-Ndoro Community to the effect that military officers on a manhunt for alleged killers of a security operative have invaded and burnt more than 50 houses.
“The IYC in the strongest terms condemn the alleged beheading of a security operative by some criminals operating within the Toru-Ndoro axis and we strongly support efforts to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice.
“However, we hold the strong view that it is extremely wrong and condemnable for security agents to invade and burn down an entire community in the name of looking for criminals.
“We demand that the few persons who are involved in criminality should be separated from the rest of the community and made to face the full weight of the law.
“In most cases, the people and communities where these criminal elements operate from are usually the first victims of their criminal activities.
“The whereabouts of Mr. Bonny Gawei, an ex-militant leader from Ogulagha Kingdom, Delta who accompanied the beheaded security operative to Ndoro on a peace mission is still unknown despite the fact that he too is Ijaw,” the statement further read.
Omare said that the IYC, the Ijaw in particular and the Niger Delta people in general did not support the activities of the few criminal elements.
“We have severally expressed our determination to work with security agencies to fish out these criminals because it is not part of our way of live.
“However, the entire community must not be made to suffer for the crimes of few persons,” he said.
He appealed to the military commanders to be civil and stick to their rule of engagement and refrain from burning of Toru-Ndoro Community in Ekeremor while efforts are made to bring the criminals who beheaded the security operative to justice.
In a reaction to the development, the state government had said that there was no cause for alarm.
It called on fleeing members of the community to return home as the situation had been brought under control.
The Commissioner for information, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson said the assurance came in the wake of a meeting between Governor Seriake Dickson, security chiefs, officials of the military high command, leaders and stakeholders of the community.
Iworiso-Markson said it was resolved that the military would move into the community and restore normalcy, while the government would begin a peace process.
He said with the presence of the military in the area they could go about their normal businesses.
The commissioner said the situation was now under control following government’s quick intervention, and expressed regret over the incident
He said Dickson had met with very senior security chiefs and the military high command, as well as leaders and key stakeholders to decide on the steps to take and it was agreed that the military will move in to provide the needed peace.
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