- Response to Killings of 4 more soldiers
By Ignatius Chukwu
Four more soldiers were confirmed killed in another part of Rivers State but security chiefs have begun meetings in the state capital to plot solutions. This is as some ethnic groups in Rivers State have stirred, saying enough is enough.
The tension riding the oil-rich state took a new turn Monday afternoon when news broke that four soldiers were killed and two sustained serious injuries while guarding an oil facility in Omelema community, Abual/Odual local council area, one of the areas in the creeks.
The attack on the soldiers came barely 24 hours after eight security personnel were killed at checkpoints along the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road in Ikwerre local government area of the state.
BusinessDay gathered that that after killing the four soldiers and injuring two others, the gunmen went away with one of the injured soldiers.
The authorities of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army could not respond to inquiries but police sources admitted they were aware of the incident, at the time of filing this report.
The security chiefs were said to have begun meeting at the police headquarters on Moscow Road in Port Harcourt. The police is regarded as the mother of internal security.
As the shock of the Saturday night killing of eight soldiers and other security agents begins to wear out, some ethnic groups have reacted, demanding a stop to outsiders coming to the land to spill blood in the guise of any agitation.
The Ikwerre local government council of Rivers State has mobilised local vigilantes and hunters to assist in tackling rising insecurity in the area.
Chairman of the council, Samuel Nwanosike, in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt Monday sympathized with families of the security personnel who lost their lives during the attack.
Nwanosike said: “The killing of security agents manning the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road is an unfortunate incident and the people of Ikwerre LGA condemn it. Communities in Ikwerre LGA, our local vigilantes and hunters are at alert to ensure that this ugly incidence does not repeat in the area.”
Meanwhile, a group, the Ikwerre People’s Congress, (IPC) has condemned the new recent kilking of security operative in the state, saying it was desecrating Ikwerre land.
Convener of IPC, Livingstone Wechie, who said this in a statement said the developments was unwarranted and unjustified, wondering why any right thinking individual or group would target those who were keeping the peace.
The statement reads, “The Ikwerre People’s Congress is concerned and outrightly rejects the growing cases of heightened and almost uncontrollable wave of attacks on security personnel across the Lower Niger region particularly the South South and South East of Nigeria.
“IPC outrightly condemn grievous killing of a record number of security officers in Ikwerre land of Rivers State as reported on the news over the weekend in Port Harcourt.
“The reported killing of the security officers or any other victims is a desecration of Ikwerre land. Therefore this development is unjust and condemned in all ramifications. It is obvious that Ikwerre land is a major target, and indeed the entire Lower Niger region because of its strategic economic importance in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Ikwerre nation has restrained itself from self-help on those same issues that counterpart ethnic groups have used violence to approach because Ikwerre still believes in Diplomatic channels of constructive engagement.
*Unfortunately, the approach of Ikwerre people is viewed by the federal government as a sign of weakness and this is unacceptable.”