Photo: Nigerian Army
*Abe, Npigi accused as Army denies allegations
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Nigerian Army has been accused of killing 24 persons in Gokhana and Khana local government areas of Rivers state while on a search for an ex-militant, Mr. Solomon Indigbara, who is being wanted for gun-running and election-related violence.
The community leaders also accused former federal lawmakers, Senator Magnus Abe and Hon. Harry Npigi, of inciting the crisis ahead of re-run elections into the National Assembly holding next weekend.
The affected communities: Yeghe, Zaakpo, Bori and Babbe in the two LGAs had petitioned Speaker Yakubu Dogara over the killings which they said happened February 22nd and 23rd, 2016, where an eight month old pregnant woman also died, while six injured persons remain in critical condition.
The House Committee on Army chaired by Hon. Rima Shawulu on Thursday heard that the troops deployed from Port Harcourt Division invaded the communities, shooting sporadically into the air.
The Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation, (South South), Mr. Kachi Uchegbu demanded compensation for the families of those who died and for those who were injured.
Accompanied by three leaders of the community, they presented pictures of dead bodies, and telephone numbers of their relatives to the committee.
“Our concern is that there would be re-run in some parts of Rivers state next week,and we learnt some politicians are using this to destabilise the area,” he said.
The army however refuted the allegations insisting that no one died in the raid in search of the ex-miltant.
Chief, Civil/Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army, Major General Rogers Nicholas said the raid was targeted at Indigbara who is being accused of several atrocities including gun running, inciting violence, murder and burying an informant alive.