Foropa community in the Southern Ijaw council area in Bayelsa State, is now a ghost town as the people have reportedly fled the village following the killing of three soldiers in the community by unknown gunmen, last week.
Caretaker Committee Chairman, Southern Ijaw, Mr. Joshua Macaiver confirmed, Thursday, that the villagers have deserted the village as a result of the incident for fear of reprisal attack by the military reminiscent of the Odi invasion by the Nigerian military.
“As we speak, there is nobody in the community for fear that soldiers would invade Foropa. The Governor believes the community is not part of what happened.”
Caretaker Committee Chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Mr. Joshua Macaiver and chiefs of the area stated this in Yenagoa on Thursday.
Macaiver, while condemning the killing of three security personnel of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Foropa Community, absolved the community of culpability in the incident saying the perpetrators were not from Foropa.
Speaking with journalists in Government House, shortly after the meeting convened by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, he described the incident as unfortunate.
He equally assured that they would collaborate with the government and security agencies to apprehend and arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Macaiver said, the attack occurred at a time when the council was working hard to ensure that Southern Ijaw becomes one of the most peaceful areas in the state.
The Council boss in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seriake Dickson said the people of Southern Ijaw LGA would not rest on their oars until those behind the killing of the three soldiers are brought to justice,
He noted that the local government would not condone any form of violence and criminal activities that would threaten the peace of the area.
According to him, the people of Foropa have fled their community for fear of invasion by soldiers, adding that Gov. Dickson appealed to the people to return to their community as he has the assurances of the Federal Government that no harm would befall them.
Earlier, Chief Ebi Llyod, Alamene, Apoi kori the 7th of the Apoi Kingdom also decried the incident and expressed the community’s readiness to go into the creeks and surrounding villages to fish out those who committed the crime.
“Foropa Community is not a militant abode and we do not harbour criminals and hoodlums. The JTF has been with us for over five years and so they know how peaceful we are. These persons came from the river and operated and left so we too are looking for them.
“Concerning the incident that happened on May 10, our hearts are bleeding. This is because we don’t believe in violence in Foropa. The Army has come to settle down with us and Foropa has been peaceful. We condemn the killing by all standards and we will never support it.
“We can never be for it. We are ready to cooperate with the government to go into the creeks and the surrounding villages, wherever they are to fish them out and hand them over to the government. We are a harmless people; we don’t have guns, but we can give information.” he said.