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Withdraw troops, Ondo community residents beg Buhari, Akeredolu

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Peter Dada, Akure

Following an alleged invasion of Ajakpa community in the Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State by military men last week, members of the community, on Tuesday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari; Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and the National Assembly to intervene in the matter.

The men of the Nigerian Army, under Operation Safe Delta, stormed the creeks last week, leading to the death of three soldiers and 15 suspected militants, including the group leader, Ossy Ibori.

It was gathered that since the day of the attack, scores of military men had occupied the community, allegedly setting some houses ablaze while searching for fleeing militants.

Many residents had reportedly fled the community as a result of the tension in the area.

The spokesperson for the Ijaw-speaking community, Mr. Maclean Anthony, in a statement on Tuesday, lamented that Ajakpa community had not known peace since 10 days ago “when Ossy Ibori and his gang were pursued into the community by the military.”

Anthony alleged that the residents, including the traditional ruler, had continued to take refuge in the creeks as their houses had been allegedly set ablaze during the military invasion.

He stated, “Since the invasion of the community by the military and Gallery Security Services when houses were set ablaze and innocent residents were sacked from their places of abode and means of livelihood, the Ondo State Government has not put any machinery in place to protect lives and properties of the inhabitants of the coastal community.

“The target of the military and Gallery Security was Ossy Ibori whom they claimed was killed during the gunbattle with the gang; but since then, the community has not known peace.

“We implore the Federal Government to send a fact-finding team to the area for the sake of peace in the area.”

However, the Public Relations Officer of the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigeria Army, Captain Ojo Adelegan, explained that that the soldiers were in the area to ensure peace in the community.

He stated that the soldiers sent to the community could not indulge in any professional misconduct.

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