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Residents Flee Rivers Communities, Accused Military Of Brutality



Residents Flee Rivers Communities, Accused Military Of Brutality

People fall sick every day in this bush, we are hungry and there is nothing to eat.

Port-Harcourt, Rivers State – The residents of Owerewere, Aminigboko, Egunughan, and Emesu in the Emughan clan of Abua-Odual Local Government Area,  have fled their homes citing alleged brutality by military personnel.

Some residents said that they vacated the area to seek refuge in the bush, to avoid attacks and torture by men in military uniform.

They alleged that these soldiers started harassing and disrupting the peace of their communities, immediately after the terrible incident that happened in Ahoada/Abua East-West axis, on the 12th December 2023.

It would be recalled that gunmen shot four soldiers, and two drivers dead while they reportedly kidnapped two expatriates of the Daewoo company along the Ahoada/Abua East-West axis in Rivers State.

It was alleged that men of the Nigerian Army have now occupied these communities and sacked these residents, who are currently starving in the bush, where they share homes with snakes and other reptiles in the bush.

Punch reports that an indigene of the Emughan Clan, Bryan Honour, said the military men invaded the communities to revenge the death of the soldiers, but they attacked innocent civilians in the process.

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“On the 12th December, unknown men killed four soldiers and two drivers, now the soldiers came back and started attacking the whole clan, which consists about four communities. They chased people, beat grandmothers, grandfathers, and two people even died,” he said.

“All these happened because of the attack on their soldiers, and it is happening to innocent communities. Mothers and children have been sleeping in the bush, because of these military men. They were just beating people, some even died. Most of the youths are not with the residents in the bush, some are not even in port Harcourt due to the situation of things,” he said.

Speaking with the publication, a resident, Progress Ekomodi, revealed they were maltreated by the uniform men, and had to resort to living in the bush.

“It was unknown gunmen that kidnapped the white men and killed the soldiers, they were now flogging old women, chasing young women and children. The bush is now our shelter, we feed on palm kernels and water leaf. We have different camps, and we are more than two hundred in my camp here”, he said.

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Another resident, Beauty Ekom, said life in the bush has been a terrible experience because every one of them is hungry and people have died as a result of lack of access to medical care and food.

“People fall sick every day in this bush, we are hungry and there is nothing to eat. Very soon, school will resume, there is no way our children will go back to school. The government should come to our rescue.

“People die in this bush every day, the stench from their decomposing bodies disturbs us. Come and help us, there is nothing to eat, we are starving. Some of our children are sick, we do not know how to treat them”, she said.

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When contacted, 6 Division, Nigeria Army Spokesperson, Jonah Danjuma, refuted the claim and clarified that the mission of the division troops deployed was to apprehend the gunmen.

“I am sure you are aware of the unprovoked and unwarranted attack on our troops by suspected militants within their vicinity on 13 December 2023. Since then, our troops have been conducting operations to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Danjuma said.

“It is on record that our troops have a pedigree of conducting operations in line with global best practices of adhering to the rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

“Thus, the allegation of harassment of innocent people is baseless and remains largely unsubstantiated. It is also important to state that these criminals operated within their vicinity, and so they have a responsibility to expose them rather than to resort to blackmail and unwarranted propaganda.”

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