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JTF attack: Fear grips Bayelsa communities

Posted by From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa on 2008/08/06 | Views: 2539 |

JTF attack: Fear grips Bayelsa communities


Palpable fears have gripped inhabitants of coastal communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over an impending invasion by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in search of the perpetrators of the attack on soldiers in Tuomo and Bomadi, Delta State on Sunday.

Palpable fears have gripped inhabitants of coastal communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over an impending invasion by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in search of the perpetrators of the attack on soldiers in Tuomo and Bomadi, Delta State on Sunday.

This is just as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) condemned the attack on Agge by the JTF.
The JTF had stormed Agge in the Ekeremor Local Government Area to fish out the hoodlums who attacked soldiers in military gunboats. The soldiers were on a mission to shut down illegal refineries.

Investigations showed that the people of Letugbene and Bilabiri in the Ekeremor Local Government Area were already fleeing their community in fear that they would be attacked as the JTF continued its search for the hoodlums.
Elders of the community, it was gathered, had already sent a save our soul message to the military authorities to save their communities so that innocent people would not be affected.

But the Commander of the JTF in Bayelsa, Lt. Col Chris Musa denied that people were leaving their communities, adding that the people were even assisting them to fish out the hoodlums.
Musa restated that soldiers were constitutionally bound to protect lives and property and would not go and kill innocent people.

However, MEND in a statement signed by Jomo Gbomo has condemned what it called wanton destruction of lives and property in Agge by "cowardly men of the Joint Military Task Force."
It noted that the operation lacked tactics and professionalism as it did not consider the safety of innocent civilians.

The statement read in parts: "The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) condemns the wanton destruction of lives and property in the impoverished Ijaw community of Agge by the cowardly men of the military Joint Task Force on August 4, 2008.
Nowhere in the world except during the Nazi regime and Bosnia war do soldiers destroy whole villages because of the sins of a few men. It is unfortunate that an already neglected community of impoverished fishermen would have their mud houses, fishing nets and canoes destroyed in the army’s search for "criminals."

It continued: "The operation lacked tactics and professionalism, resembling that of drunken bulls on a rampage. Shots from heavy caliber machine guns were being fired as they were approaching the community not considering the safety of innocent children, babies, elderly and women who ended up the victims of stray bullets without the invaders accomplishing its intended mission. None of the victims received any form of emergency medical service for the trauma and many simply bled to death.
While MEND will not support criminality, we will advise the JTF to investigate and plan properly before going for an arrest. By simply watching Dallas SWAT on television, they can learn a lot that raids are narrowed to one house and not the entire neighborhood."

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