By Desmond Ejibas
Port Harcourt – Some residents of Asarama community in Andoni Local Government area of Rivers, on Thursday, pleaded with authorities to end the incessant killings in their community by unknown gunmen.
The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt that residents had been fleeing the community in their numbers over the killings.
They also complained of abuse and extortion by unknown men in uniforms and appealed to the Federal Government, the Rivers government and the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Joseph Mukan, to come to their rescue.
One of the residents, who simply gave his name as James, said that the community was thrown into mourning on Sunday, when some gunmen attacked three fishing settlements, resulting in death of two children.
“They came into the fishing settlements, belonging to Asarama community, in six gunboats and seven speedboats and destroyed fishing equipment and other personal belongings.
“Immediately they entered our fishing settlement, they started shooting sporadically to scare us, and so, we all ran for our lives.
“Unfortunately, two children got drowned in a bid to escape from the sporadic shootings by armed men, working in collaboration with a local security outfit in Andoni,” he said.
Another resident, Mrs Ebiere Ekpeye, said that gunmen also attacked other neighbouring settlements, including Obot-Okolo Asarama, Asaramatoro and Ama-Ataejit.
She further stated that the gunmen carted away fishing tools and destroyed shelters and houses within the settlement.
NAN gathered that Asaramatoro community is host to several oil wells and the major part of the Andoni stretch of the ongoing multi-billion Naira Bodo-Bonny road project.
The Chairman of Asarama Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr Mark Animisa, said that residents were now fleeing the community in their numbers for fear of being killed by the hoodlums.
“Recently, Mr Emmanuel Paul, a staff of Dredging International, was shot dead while many others sustained gunshot injuries during an invasion of our community in a Gestapo style.
“Aside this, our people are being extorted and made to pay as much as N80,000 to secure their bail from people who paraded themselves as security operatives,” he added.
On his part, Mr Njenyisi Lemuel, the Assistant Secretary of the CDC, claimed that more than 90 houses were destroyed in Asarama community between March 6 and March 7.
“We, therefore, appeal to Gov. Nyesom Wike and the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Wukan, to immediately address this rising spate of killings and rights abuses in our community,” he said.