Troops of Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe (ODS) on Friday morning invaded and burnt part of Bilabiri community in Ekeremor Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, forcing residents to flee into the creeks for safety.
According to The Nation, no reason had been given for the onslaught but it is suspected that it was in connection with the recent killings of four Naval ratings and abduction of foreigners in the area.
Newspeakonline recalls that in first week of January, unknown gunmen killed four Naval ratings and abducted two foreigners at Agge coastal area, close to Bilabiri community.
The incident occurred when the gunmen seized a dredger escorted by the operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS). The gunmen attacked the Sterling Global Dredger, causing heavy gun battle between them and the ratings.
The gun battle, which reportedly lasted for hours, led to the killings of the four ratings with others sustaining injuries.
The gunmen seized the dredger and abducted two Russian nationals and one Indian.
Meanwhile, the Ekeremor Federated Youth Council (EFYC) has frowned on the destruction of Bilabiri community by the soldiers.
The President, EFYC, Etolor Prince, said: “The ongoing military invasion at Bilabiri community is one too many occurrence in Ekeremor LGA and It is so sad that I have to once again condemn this continuous unprofessional act of the Nigerian military at the slightest provocation.
“It is so sad and annoying to note that, one will never see them carrying out this practice in the north where our brothers in the military are killed on duty every now and then but our case here is nothing to write home about. They (military) should know that this approach is nothing working and will never work.
“Please, it is high time the legal luminaries in our region stood up to this injustice meted on our people. I strongly believe, legal actions can go a long way to tackle this menace.
“At this juncture, please permit me to sympathiSe with the people of Bilabiri I & II communities for the loss and I urge government at all levels most especially well- meaning leaders to immediately come to the aid of our people in any way possible to cushion the immediate hardship caused by this attack”.