Residents Flee As Vigilantes, Soldiers Clash In Rivers Community
Many residents of Ndele community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State have fled following a clash between members of a disbanded vigilante group and operatives of the Nigerian Army.
It was gathered that two soldiers drafted to guard oil installations in the areas had an altercation with members of the disbanded vigilante led by one Gift, which resulted in the shooting.
It was further gathered that Gift, a commander of the disbanded vigilante group codenamed ‘OSPAC,’ allegedly shot the two soldiers, carted away their rifles and uniforms during the melee and fled into the bush.
It was gathered that the soldiers shot were tied inside the bush with their injuries.
The situation led to reinforcement by the soldiers who invaded the community in search of Gift, the rifles and uniforms he carted away.
As the search intensified, the soldiers traced Gift to his hideout during which a shootout ensued, but it could not be ascertained if any casualty was recorded.
Seeing that he (Gift) had fled, the operatives went to his house and set it ablaze causing pandemonium in the community as residents fled either into the bush or to safer areas in order not to be caught in the crossfire.
Speaking on the incident, a traditional ruler in the area, Damian Ejiowhor, confirmed that the soldiers had been in the community since Saturday evening in an attempt to recover the rifles seized by the vigilante commander.
He said, “The soldiers came yesterday. The OSPAC commander had a confrontation with some soldiers and then we were told that he seized two of their assault rifles and their uniforms.
“So the soldiers came back that evening asking for the rifles.”
Efforts to reach the spokesperson for 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, Iweha Ikedichi, proved abortive as he did not answer calls put across to his telephone by our reporter.
Also, he had yet to reply to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.