Residents and Landlords of the Bille community in the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have ditched their homes after soldiers raided the community over the killing of some soldiers by suspected pirates.
Information Nigeria gathered that the suspected pirates hauled away their weapons after killing the community’s military men.
A resident, who spoke from his hideout in the community, said the soldiers, during the invasion, shot sporadically and allegedly smashed into residents’ homes to intimidate them.
He said the case pushed many residents to escape the community as the troops said they were digging for pirates who attacked their gunboat.
The resident said,
“Some military men came with gunboats. They said they were looking for pirates that attacked their soldiers. We also lost one of our sons from the pirate attack last Friday. Just yesterday they invaded a nearby community. Today they invaded the Bille community.
“I am calling from my hideout. Many people have left the community. They are harassing youths, flogging and injuring people. As I speak to you, they are shooting sporadically in the community and people have fled. The place is empty.”
The President of Bille Youths Federation, Osaki Wellington, said pirate aggression had generated tension in the community for a long time and added that the military charge exacerbated the situation.
“The community was actually tense because we lost our son and now the military is coming in again,” he stated.
When the 6 Division, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt spokesperson, Major Iweha Ikedichi, was contacted, he said the soldiers were in the community for an operation.
“Troops conducted an operation in the general area of Bille and that is in response to the killing of soldiers in and around that community last week.
“The operation is consequent upon that, and targeted at arresting perpetrators and recovering the stolen weapons of the troops that were killed. The operation will continue following actionable intelligence as we receive,” he disclosed.