IYC urges security agencies to identify avengers
The fear of a reprisal by the military has gripped the residents of Nembe Local Council of Bayelsa State following the killing of three soldiers attached to the joint force known as ‘Operation Delta Safe’ (ODS) by suspected militants.The killers were said to have also made away with military gunboats, rifles and other ammunition, after they ambushed operatives of the ODS at a checkpoint.
Meanwhile, the splinter group of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has urged the security agencies to intensify efforts to identify the real faces behind the Niger Delta Avengers.
The attack on the soldiers occurred about 9:30 a.m. yesterday at a military checkpoint which has been mounted at the entrance of the Nembe community since the beginning of militancy in the Niger Delta.
It was learnt that there were deafening sounds of gunshots in the community during the surprised attack that lasted for about 30 minutes. There was pandemonium as residents who thought their community was under siege ran in different directions for safety.
The gunmen, who operated from an unspecified number of speedboats, were said to have dressed in white attire to hoodwink their targets. The attire, it was learnt, was designed to create an impression that the attackers were in a funeral procession.A resident of Nembe who spoke in confidence to our correspondent said there was general apprehension in the community.
He said: “The attack was deadly and well-planned. Nobody had expected that such a thing would happen at such a time when the jetties were busy with people preparing to go about their normal business activities.
“I am sure even the soldiers did not expect such an incident to happen at that time. Some persons who were already sailing out of Nembe said they saw the gunmen but dismissed them as mourners because they were dressed in white robes.”
The source further said that following the incident, some residents in Nembe had started fleeing the community, while others were still contemplating to do so following a widespread fear of a reprisal.
Efforts to get the reaction of the spokesman of the Operation Delta Safe, Lt. Col Olaolu Dauda, were not successful as he promised to call back through a text message but was yet to do so at the time of filing this report.
The President of the IYC splinter group, Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo, who spoke against the backdrop of an allegation by the reformed Niger Delta Avengers that the council and some notable Niger Deltans were sponsoring the militants, urged the fighters to leave IYC and the Ijaw nation out of their antics.
Donkemezuo said his group had been intimated on reports in an online medium containing a statement from a group, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers that named some Niger Delta leaders as sponsors of the NDA.
“But for the fact that our noble organisation, the IYC, was mentioned in relation to our erstwhile interim President, Udengs Eradiri, who the RNDA claimed is also known as ‘Brigadier General Murdoch Agbinibo’ and ‘serves as the NDA’s chief spokesman’ and the enormity of our ignoring this lame attempt at linking the IYC to the hostilities of the Avengers, we would not have dignified them with a response.
“Nonetheless, given that our silence would mislead the unsuspecting public and embolden the source of the publication, we have decided to set the record straight.“For the sake of clarity, we want to state unequivocally that Eradiri is no longer the President of the IYC. IYC is not Eradiri’s private estate.“Therefore, we urge those who have personal or business quarrels with him not to drag the name of the council into their tussles.“The IYC and the entire Ijaw nation distance ourselves from the NDA and any splinter group from it as well as all their sponsors,” Donkemezuo said.