A man identified as Felix Nkorkor was reportedly shot dead as soldiers invaded Gio in the Tai Local Government Area, and Deeyor, Biara and Nwebiara communities in the Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State in what looked like a reprisal over the alleged murder of their colleague.
Sources stated that while three members of the affected communities sustained injuries, two others had been missing since the incident.
It was gathered that the soldiers came in 10 Hilux vans, four Coaster buses and one Hummer bus, and arrested one Garvin Menekue in Gio.
A soldier and two personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were killed in June by suspected members of an oil bunkering syndicate in Gio.
Our correspondent learnt that the Nigerian Army had traced the phone of the murdered soldier to a female trader, who bought it from one of the suspected killers of the security personnel.
The woman, according to a source, led army investigators to the suspected killer, who sold the phone to her.
The suspect was arrested and took the soldiers to a shallow grave on a farmland in Biara, where the decomposing corpse of the soldier was exhumed.
One of the sources told our correspondent, “Do you remember the killing of a soldier and two civil defence officers and the stealing of their rifles sometime in June this year in Gio community in the Tai LGA? The army later tracked the phone of the murdered soldier to a female trader in a community in the Gokana LGA.
“The female trader unknowingly bought the bloodstained phone. She was arrested and she led the army investigators to the criminal suspect, who has also been arrested and who in turn led the army to a shallow grave on a farmland in the Biara community in same Gokana LGA, where he was buried.
“The army exhumed his decomposing corpse. In the early hours of Tuesday, a horde of heavily armed soldiers invaded Gio, Deeyor, Biara and Nwebiara communities in Ogoniland.”
Another source, who simply identified himself as Moses, said the chiefs, elders and leaders of Gio community were sad over the development in the area.
A text message purportedly from the elders and leaders of the community read, “We the chiefs, elders and leaders of the Gio community wish to report the ugly incident that occurred in our community around 5am today, Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
“The Nigerian Army, with 10 Hilux, four Coaster buses and one Hummer bus, invaded the community and shot dead one Mr Felix Nkorkor and injured three. One Gavin Menekue was arrested and two others are not seen yet.
“We are calling on human rights activists to intervene, because we have not done any harm that deserves this ugly attack on our peaceful community.”
However, efforts to reach the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, to comment on the incident were futile.
While several calls to his mobile telephone line were not answered, a text message sent to him had not been replied as of the time of filing this report.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, said though he heard about the incident in Ogoni, he had not been briefed on it.