Ogonis Allege More Military Build Up On Ogoniland
SAN FRANCISCO, February 29, (THEWILL) – The paramount ruler of the Bua Yeghe community, Barinaadaa Gbaranee has raised an alarm of a possible invasion of his community by the army, following Sunday’s arrival of four military trucks in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni people.
Gbaranee, who spoke during the visit of Olaka Wogu, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Senate rerun election for Rivers South East senatorial zone, said the people were full of fear and would return to the bush to avoid the brutality and killings that was meted out on them during last two-day raid on Yeghe and communities around Bori.
“We are not at war with anybody, nobody is fighting, but I can’t understand why the military was drafted in to kill our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the umbrella body for Ogoni struggle, has asked the Federal Government to direct the immediate withdrawal of all military forces in Ogoni communities where a two-day (Monday, February 22 and Tuesday, February 23) unannounced military invasion led to the killing of yet-undisclosed number of people.
MOSOP is also demanding the immediate dismantling of all military roadblocks in the oil producing area, where Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) was forced out in 1993, following years of strong Ogoni opposition against the Anglo Dutch oil giant’s continued oil operations amid massive environmental despoliation there.
Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, the MOSOP president, said at the weekend that the roadblocks mounted by the military were “disturbingly used as extortion and torture posts by security operatives.”
Pyagbara urged the government to set up a high-powered commission of inquiry to investigate all issues relating to the current disastrous military occupation of Ogoniland and called on well-meaning individuals and citizens to join the body in condemning the heinous crime being committed against the Ogoni people by the military.
In what the army claimed was targeted at capturing an ex-militant leader in Yeghe, some Ogoni communities were raided upper week leading to the death of two pregnant women, killing of three Igbo traders, students and other innocent members of the communities of Yeghe, Zaakpon, Kaani and other surrounding villages in Ogoni.
Although a full report is not yet available, but independent sources said an estimated 42 persons may have lost their lives, as the military allegedly shot residents during the raid.
Story by David Oputah