Seven Reportedly Shot Dead In Rival Bayelsa Militant Groups Clash

Photo Credit: Tife Owolabi
Niger Delta Militants. Photo credit: Tife Owolabi

Reports from Oluasiri community of Nembe-Bassambiri in Nembe Local Government area of Bayelsa State, say clashes between two rival militant groups over the control of illegal oil bunkering camp have left at least seven persons reportedly dead.

BIGPEN gathered that the militant groups engaged themselves in a gun battle over the camp on Wednesday night after one of the groups took control of the caches of the ammunition in the location.

Police authority in Bayelsa State on Thursday, confirmed that there was a gun battle between militant groups on 19 August, 2020, at about 19:45 hours in the state.

According to sources from the community, the gun battle erupted when one camp of the militants hijacked ammunition used for high profile criminal activities including kidnapping and sea piracy in the area.

The militant groups, a source revealed were responsible for high profile kidnapping in the state and were deeply involved in illegal bunkering in the bordering communities of Bayelsa and Rivers States around Isiah-Ama area of Oluasiri community.

The three militant camps are located in Izakiri, Ben-Ama and Isiah-Ama communities.

Two siblings of same parents were among the militants allegedly killed during the gun battle, source disclosed.

“We also know that the affected gangs who lost foot soldiers have started burying their dead because the community does not allow fresh dead bodies kept in the community. Among the dead were two boys from a single parent.

“Every security agencies are aware of the illegal activities of these boys.The umbrella body of Ijaw Youths are aware and have kept quiet. The Oluasiri as a community, have cried severally over the activities of these people. But no action”, a community source claimed.

Confirming the incident, the paramount ruler of Isiah-Ama, HRH. Iyerite Chiefson Awululu, said, “The gun battle last for hours. And they have suffered some deaths. Seven or eight persons died in the clash.”

“From reports reaching me from my subjects, no innocent indigene was killed in the battle. And we have reported to the Local Government Chairman. The indigenes of the community had to cry out to avoid being hit by stray bullets.”

Also, the chairman of the Nembe Local Government Area, Hon. Alalibo West, said the incident had been reported to security agencies and the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, for action.

“We have reported to the relevant authorities and have requested for gun boat patrol to calm the situation. And I learnt the situation is now under control”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa state Police Command says it has commence investigation into the incident.

State Police Public Relation Officer, SP Asinim Butswat, in a statement said, “The Bayelsa State Police Command in synergy with other sister security agencies in the state, have commenced investigations into the sporadic gunshots witnessed at Oluasiri, Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. 

“Information at the disposal of the Bayelsa State Police Command revealed that, on 19 August, 2020, at about 1945 hours, there were sporadic gunshots witnessed by the residents of Oluasiri Community in Nembe Local Government Area of the State.

“It is believed that the gunshots were as a result of a clash by rival militant groups in the creeks of Oluasiri community.

“The Commissioner of Police Bayelsa State Command CP Mike Okoli fsi, wishes to reassure members of the Public that a joint operation by security agencies is ongoing to fish out the perpetrators and ensure the safety of lives of residents of the Community and the protection of critical infrastructures”.