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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Hunt for Avengers: Life at Okosugbene community one year after military bombardment— Inside Report















•Tales of sorrow, tears and blood characterise community’s condition
•Says they have recorded countless number of deaths occasioned by the incident
•People now sleep in the open— Community
•Gov. Okowa, FG, Relief Agencies have abandoned us— Community leader


By Chukwuemeka Chimerue || Chief Editor, The Biafra Times

November 26, 2017


DELTA— It is now over one year since the brutal, deadly and destructive military bombardment at Okosugbene, Gbekebor in Ogbolubiri Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, by a group of wild Nigerian soldiers who claimed to be carrying out a military operation codenamed “Operation Delta Safe,” ODS, in a supposed bid to flush out Niger Delta militants in the creeks of Okosugbene.

The sordid and unfortunate situation the Okosugbene community now find themselves in one year after the tragedy, is now characterised with tales of agony, pains, sorrow and more recorded deaths as a result of the aerial and land bombardment. Victims of November 24th, 2016, military bombardment of Okosugbene community have complained of acute lack of food, shelter and medication since the incident.

Dozens of innocent children and women displaced by the Nigerian Military now live together in an open make-shift house. The Okosugbene bombardment, as noted, was a clear case of genocide against the Ijaw people. “Bombing innocent villages because you missed your target is suicidal and a call for concern by well-meaning countrymen. It was senseless, unprovoked and the height of unprofessionalism and crime against humanity by the soldiers,” a village source posited.

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To rehash, when the peace-loving Ijaw people of Okosugbene community, a sleepy town in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state, woke up that fateful morning of 24th November 2016, little did they know that luck had a negative gift in stock for them.

That gift was later at midday delivered by the cold hands of the bloodthirsty Nigerian Armed Forces, who came under the guise of hunting for the Niger Delta Avengers, and carried out an incessant bombardment of the once egalitarian community.

And by the time they completed their inhuman assignment, they left in their trail, sorrow, tears and blood as the community recorded scores of death during and after the unwarranted and unprovoked attack.

A countless number of villagers which included vulnerable and defenseless children, the elderly men, and women, while they scampered for safety sustained different degrees of injuries, some leading to immature deaths.

Pregnant women remained the worst hit of this needless attack as they were traumatized leading to some having painful miscarriages.

But one year after, a visit to Okosugbene by our Reporter, saw a community that is now a shadow of itself and equally met with a people that have passed through the valley of the shadow of death.

While conducting a research round the once busy but now deserted community, Mr. Wilson Arerebo, Chairman, Okosugbene community explained that it has been a harrowing experience for the people as they have passed through excruciating pains occasioned by the attack.

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He pointed to an open space that was filled with housing structures but were later leveled by the ugly occurrence as orchestrated by the military during the bombardment.

When asked what has become the fate of the former landlords, Arerebo, responded that, “Some have fled the town while others are now squatting in the makeshift apartments (pointing at one).”

He added that majority of the people now sleep in the open as they have no place to call their home any longer.

On the effort of government, both at Federal and State levels to have them resettled, Arerebo, again, painted an ugly picture of neglect, abandonment, and of a government without a human face nor sympathy for their plights.

He also narrated how the incident took away their means of livelihood and disrupted their socio-economic lives. He added that most of the people that were formally rich have now turned beggars as a result of this mindless attack on the community by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

In his words, “We are predominantly into fishing but the attack destroyed all our fishing equipment such as speedboats and other fishing materials thereby turning some of us into beggars.”

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He further told our source that for the past one year, they have written series of distress letters to the State and Federal governments and other interventionist groups such as the National Relief Agency, all without any useful response.

He stressed that the community massively voted for Senator Ifeanyi Okowa in 2015 general election to emerge as governor of the State but now he has completely abandoned them.

Going philosophical, Arerebo concluded that for Okosugbene community, their help shall come from God as things have fallen apart. But he quickly reminded the State governor that 2019 is around the corner when he will again come for their votes.

Speaking in the same vein, the Secretary, Okosugbene community, Blessing Inikorogha, said he is yet to fathom why the community was destroyed in the first instance as they were known to be peace-loving and has not in anyway associated or harboured any member of the Avengers’ group.

Continuing, he lamented the deliberate decision by the government at both State and Federal levels to abandon the community to their fate.

Wilson Arerebo had earlier told our Reporter that the community has been in existence since 1825 without government presence, wondering why the same government that failed to provide for them has also decided to destroy the ones they were able to achieve through self-help.

One of the fishermen, Mr. Peter Ebitimi, who earlier spoke with our Correspondent said: “We were bombed while we were still asleep, I am a fisherman, our village is made up of only fishermen and women, there is no militant camp near our village, I do not even know how I survived the heavy bombs.

“The military bombed us out of frustration when they could not locate the alleged militants they were looking for. My sister, Paulina Maika, was seriously wounded on the head, several fisher men/women and children are still missing, and others injured were rushed to the hospital in Warri,” he added.

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Another fisherman, who expressed concern and grief that the fishing settlement was described as a militant camp, said; “It is not true that our village is a militant camp neither is it true that there is a militant camp near our village. What happened was that some militants came in contact with military patrol gunboats in Burutu-Warri River, close to our village Junction.”

“The military shot at the militants and the militants responded with heavy fire, and the military was frustrated. The soldiers called for help to tackle the militants, but very unfortunately before the arrival of more gunboats and two fighter jets, the militants had already fled.

“So when the military bomber jets came, they began to hover and bomb every mangrove tree and equally bombed our village. They bombed us from both land and air. The military missed their target and bombed us,” he said.


THE BIAFRA TIMES
Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah
Contact us: [email protected]

2 comments

  1. Where is that bully brain dead Edwin Clark that want the bloody Hausa-Fulani Yoruba one Nigeria. Why has he suddenly gone dumb? By the what is Okowa who has rejected his Biafra birth rights and traded it to Jibri for the so called mad house Hausa-Fulani Yoruba one Nigeria. Ijaw community should now wake up and join IPOB under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu is the only organization that can stop the fake fraudulent expired Nigerian mad house contraption. Also forget Goodluck Jonathan as he is with Obasanjo the Yoruba stunt!!!

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  2. Until Biafran youths across the entire and breath of former Eastern region made of today's SE/SS region support Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB to do away with the current political charlatans and corrupt rulers imposed upon the land by Hausa-Fulani, we will never be free. Our people and land are servitudes and in bondage. Our land and people must be freed.

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