The Udoda community in Ahoada West Local Government Area, Rivers State, have protested continual attacks by thugs, military invasion and air raids in the area.
Raising the alarm at the weekend, the Paramount Ruler of the community, HRH, Okaya Gospel, and the Youth President, Peter Francis, said over 30 indigenes including a chief had been killed since the raids and attacks started in 2019.
King Gospel said the community was deserted because people’s houses and valuables were burnt and stolen in the various invasions and attacks.
The king blamed surveillance contractors securing pipelines that criss-crossed the community’s forest for their travails, saying that each time the people requested for basic amenities, their voices were quelled with attacks and raids.
Giving the timelines of the attacks, he said: “Many people have died in these attacks and air raids. They used air raids to burn houses and kill innocent people. Recently they invaded this community. It has been happening since 2019. They came in 2019 with air raids. They burnt houses and killed people and rendered them homeless.
“On May 27th 2019, there was a raid in which people were killed. In November, 2020 another air raid occurred in which a boy and other five people were killed.
“On June 15th 2022, another attack occurred again and a chief was killed. On 27th of June, they entered the community, shoot and killed people. They broke doors and stole money worth N30milion and people were rendered homeless. Over 30 people have been killed in these attacks”.
King Gospel insisted that the community had not committed any offence to deserve such maltreatment and called on the Federal Government to come to their rescue.
“We need peace and we urge the government to come and renovate the burnt areas. We don’t have roads, light, hospitals and basic amenities. People are dying of ill health in their hideout. People can no longer sleep. They should call the military and the contractors to order”, he said.
The Youth President, Peter Francis, observed that though there were illegal bunkering activities in the bushes, such illegal acts were not happening in the community to warrant air raids and killing of innocent people.
He asked the military and the contractors to direct their operations in the forest and stop venting their anger on innocent indigenes and destroying houses and properties.
He recalled that in the last attack, unknown soldiers aided by some holigans ransacked people’s houses and stole over N30milion belonging to different people in the community.
He said: “There may be illegal bunkering in the bush but not inside the community. They didn’t go to the bush, they carried air raids inside our community. They killed people right inside their houses. They tied a chief and threw him inside the river. Our community is deserted. We are crying to the community to call them to order”.