A soldier attached to the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt and two personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command, were killed on Saturday night at Gio-Ogoni in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State and their guns were carted away by the rampaging criminal gang, consisting of cultists and illegal oil bunkerers.
The kingpin of the notorious criminal gang, a young man, was also gunned down by the security operatives, as confirmed yesterday evening by the Spokesman of NSCDC, Rivers command, Akin Oguntuase.
Oguntuase also disclosed that the criminal’s body had been moved to Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoniland and seat of Khana LGA of Rivers, where it would later be handed over to the police, with NSCDC operatives on standby to witness the handing over.
The murdered security personnel were guarding an oil pipeline, near the main tarred road leading to Gio.
An Ogoni leader, who spoke in confidence through the telephone yesterday evening, said: “Heavily-armed soldiers from the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army are raiding, destroying houses and shooting sporadically in deserted Gio.
“Not all the poor villagers are part of the criminal gang, but they are paying the price of what they never bargained for.
“Soldiers broke into houses, destroyed and looted valuable property of the community’s people, as frightened villagers of Gio scampered to safety.
“The soldiers who ransacked Gio later swooped on nearby K-Dere-Ogoni and B-Dere-Ogoni communities in the Gokana LGA of Rivers State, in their ruthless military operation to avenge the death of their man and two civil defence operatives.
“The rampaging soldiers also invaded the Christ Army Church in K-Dere in Gokana LGA, and arrested five worshippers.”
The 6 division’s Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, at 1:35 p.m. yesterday, said: “I have just received a similar report (on the Gio-Ogoni incident). However, I am in contact with our men on the ground and we will soon get a clearer picture of the situation,” but he had not got back, as at press time. (THE NATION)