Indigenes of the Shine-Shine community in Nembe Council of Bayelsa State yesterday narrated their tales of horror, tears and sorrow over the recent military invasion of their community in search of suspected members of the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Though the soldiers were said not to have made any arrest or discovered any suspected member of the group, according to residents of the community, the mission left sorrow, tears and a devastated community behind, with scores of houses, churches and schools burnt down.
An indigene of the community, Chief Dede Francis, who spoke on phone, alleged that the incident, which occurred on Monday, left the community deserted with indigenes running to neighbouring Ogbolomabiri in Nembe for safety.
“We tried talking to them, but it was futile. After hours of intimidation, they told us that some suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers were chased into our community. They claimed there were exchanges of gunfire with their personnel by the suspected Avengers from the community.”
Francis, however, revealed that after the departure of the invading soldiers, the alleged suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers made an attempt on the life of the community head, accusing him of selling them to the soldiers.
In a statement, the authorities of the Joint Task Force code named Operation Delta Safe (ODS) confirmed that they went to the community in search of militants, but did not destroy the community as alleged.
An earlier statement dated November 8, 2016, on the activities of troops in Bayelsa and signed by the Coordinator of its Joint Media Centre, Lt. Col. Laolu Dawodu, stated that the military troops in conjunction with own Special Forces conducted patrols to Sand-sand fishing camp in Bayelsa State and came upon suspected militants who had re-grouped to resuscitate a camp earlier destroyed.