Hundreds of residents are currently fleeing Apoi and Azuzuama communities, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa state, over possible military retaliation after a soldier was reportedly killed in the area.
BIGPENNGR.COM reports that the killing which has caused panic and tension in the area, has prompted residents fleeing in droves.
Sources said that the indigenes and residents of the community are scampering to neighbouring communities and some to the state capital, Yenagoa.
One resident said that those who have no relatives are scampering into the forest to escape any outcome of an imminent invasion.
Recalls that some yet-to-be identified gunmen had on Monday afternoon reportedly killed a soldier who was on official duty to Apoi Community for a pipeline surveillance job.
The solider was said to have been killed in the bush between the boundary of Apoi and Azuzuama communities, where there is a pipeline.
The assailants reportedly carted away with his AK 47 rifle, before community folks got to the spot.
Sources in Apoi and Azuzuama Communities told journalists that some citizens and residents have started fleeing the community for fear of a reprisal attack by the military.
According to a source who craved anonymity, “people have started running away from their communities for fear of reprisal by the military, because they have heard what happened to other communities where such ugly incidents have taken place in the past.”
The Chairman of the Community Development Committee for Apoi, Jepter Keme, confirmed the development in a telephone conversation.
He said over 50 percent of the residents had fled the town to neighboring communities, saying however, that the leadership of the community is working with the army authorities to identify and fish out the killers.
“We are under tension and restless since the incident took place, we are peace loving community and we are working with the relevant authorities to bring the killers to book.”
“No indigenes of Apoi can carry out such heinous crime, I believe that those who carry out the evil act are not from Apoi community”, Keme said.
When contacted on the development, the Public Relations Officer, Nigerian Army, 16 Brigade, Captain Tonye, said efforts were on to reach out to the appropriate quarters to confirm the incident.
The Spokesman of the Jont military operation in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) Major Olkoya, when contacted on phone, referred our correspondent to the headquarters of the Nigerian Army, as he cannot speak on the issues.
He said, “It is an operational issue and issues that have to do with operations are directed to Directorate of Media Operation in Abuja.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, MOSIEND, Apoi Clan, has condemned the act, describing it as barbaric and inhumane.
Comrade Fidelis Duba, Chairman, MOSIEND, Apoi Clan, called on hoodlums operating in the Apoi Creek and other areas to desist from such nefarious activities, assuring the security agencies that the clan will work with them to fish out the culprits.