AGITATORS in Niger Delta, yesterday, condemned the invasion and sacking of Azagbene community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by soldiers on sheer suspicion that suspected sea pirates, who wrongly killed two soldiers on Tuesday in the area hail from the community.
The activists under the auspices of Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI, and 21st Century Youths for Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, in separate statements asked youths of the region to stop killing soldiers.
They, however, said the military should identify the suspected pirates that killed the two soldiers and arrest them, rather than raze a community and harass innocent citizens.
National President of IPDI, Mr Austin Ozobo and leader of 21st Century Youths, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, said: “We strongly condemn the killing of law-abiding soldiers by some suspected criminal elements, who do not mean well for the good people of Bayelsa State as we condole with the families of the deceased military personnel.
“It is our strong demand that such criminal suspects, who summarily exterminated the lives of two soldiers and the missing one be brought to book without further delay.
“We urge residents to furnish security agents with useful information regarding the whereabouts of the culprits to make them pay for their heinous crime. In as much we do not celebrate the killing of innocent soldiers, we want to strongly frown at the burning down of a community by the Nigerian military on mere suspicion that some of the criminals hail from the community.”
On its part, the 21st Century Youths said: “We denounce the killing of two Nigerian soldiers and the burning down of an entire community by Nigerian soldiers. We also condemn the unprofessional conduct and actions of the military because two wrongs cannot make a right.
“We want to use this medium to warn our brothers and youths of Niger Delta to desist from the dastardly and brutal act of killing our soldiers, they are not the problem but posted to our region for the purpose of the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians.
“We can no longer watch some criminals take advantage of the struggle and hide under the guise of agitating for the region to commit a heinous crime, thereby causing more harm to our people that are suffering.”
“Do you know what it means and takes to build a house in our riverine communities. Now, our loved ones and families, fathers and mothers are suffering in various hideouts because of the actions of criminals and some desperate politicians, who are now using their boys to gather arms for the forthcoming election in the state,” Izon Ebe said.