BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Sampson Funpuwei, an ex-militant leader, has lamented that the recent attack of the military on Ajakurama community in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State, was premeditated.
Speaking on behalf of the community leaders he accused the military of operating in line with the wish of an ex-militant leader(name withheld) who fed them with wrong information all in his desire to islamise the community as he just converted to the Islamic religion.
“Is he going to kill all of us if we refuse to join him in his new faith?
“We thought the military’s Operation Crocodile Smile was meant to secure the area but it turned otherwise as they entered the locality and started burning down houses, destroying properties, killing and maiming innocent people.
“One would have expected them to meet with the community leaders on arrival as a show of good intentions. Rather, they started an orgy of vicious attack based on the wish of some hoodlums that they came with.
“What was baffling was that the hoodlums were well armed in dressed in military uniforms.
“The way they went about their operations looks like they were out to wipe out the people.
“I was arrested and detained at the Police Zonal Command in Benin for eight days for an unknown offence,” Funpuwei stated.
He asserted that “Ajakurama is a peace loving community. The invasion of the community by military men and their civilian collaborators is uncalled for.
“We are appealing to the Edo State government and indeed the international community to wade into the crisis before it gets completely out of hand.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council(IYC), Barrister Roland Oweilaemi Pereotubo has condemned the army raid of Ajakurama describing it as “a launch pad for the Federal Government to invade peaceful Niger Delta communities.”
Going further, he said that it “is a manifestation of the military planned invasion of Ijaw communities in the riverine areas in the name of looking for militants’ camps.
“IYC has it on good authority that several riverine Ijaw communities in Edo and Ondo States have been tipped for invasion by the military under the cover of Operation Crocodile Smile 11. Ijaw people are not at war with the Federal Government. The military should not instigate crisis in the region.
“The excuse the military gave in destroying the Community is unjustifiable. There is no militants’ camps in Ajakurama Community.”
He called on the military hierarchy to call their officers to order.
“They are creating an unnecessary tension in the region. The present military offensive against the peaceful and defenseless communities in the Niger Delta region will spark off another crisis in the region.
“What we need in the Niger Delta is development. Instead of embarking on a fruitless ventures in the name of military drill, the government should use the money to fund developmental projects in the creeks.
“President Buhari should not let the military to derail the ongoing peace process in the region with its war of aggression against the riverine communities.”
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN