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Bunkering: JTF Raids Elechi Beach Waterfronts … Three Dead, Over 30 Houses Razed Down…They were sent by RSG, Residents allege

Monday, July 16, 2012, was a dark day in the history of the lives of the residents of Elechi Beach Waterfronts, close to Kpainma Mortuary, Mile 1 Diobu, Port Harcourt, as the Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, suspected to be sent by the Rivers State government, raided the area and arrested over 100 persons.
Over 30 houses were set ablaze while three persons including one old woman and two kids lost their lives in the raid carried out in the early hours of the morning.
A resident of the area, Mr. Owunari White, from Abonnema in Akuku Toru LGA, Rivers State, who spoke with journalists at the scene of the incident disclosed that the soldiers arrived with 30 vans loads with fierce looking soldiers and arrested over 100 residents of the area, stressing that they carried away only men and put the place on fire which burnt over 30 houses and boats, leading to the death of an old woman and two kids.
Mr. Owunari who suspected that the Rivers State government might have sent the JTF on such mission, said that governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should have given them quit notice before this time and not to take them unawares.
Another resident, Mr. Franklin Dayee, an indigene of Ogoni who could not hide his feelings said, “If really the government wants us to vacate the area, they should have genuinely evacuated us by having dialogue with us first and settling us.”
In the same vein, Mrs. Uche Chinyere, an Ibo lady and a resident of the area, described the incident as unfair to the people of the area.
According to her “government does not have human sympathy they should leave us alone.”
Another resident of the place popularly known as Mother West who expressed sadness over the incident, said the JTF raided their area and used fuel to burn their area.
In a swift reaction to the incident, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mrs. Ibim Semenatari, debunked insinuations that the JTF was sent to deliberately destroy Elechi Beach waterfront, stressing that what happened was as a result of bunkering activities going on in the area.
The commissioner who briefed journalists in Port Harcourt urged residents of the waterfronts to desist from such ungodly activities.
In the same vein Captain Samuel of the JTF noted that the reason for the incident in the area was as a result of information the JTF received on the bunkering activities going on in the area and denied arrest of anybody.
He said it was not true that many houses were burnt as the very area destroyed was by the water, away from the residential places. ###

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