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Millitants, Soldiers’ clash render residents homeless In Ondo community

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Less than 48 hours after men of the Nigeria Army engaged a militant group in a shootout at a creek in Ajakpa community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, the military who were on peace mission have allegedly attacked members of the community.

The military men allegedly invaded the community on Wednesday morning and burnt down over 1000 houses and killed an unspecified number of people of the community.

On Monday morning the men of the soldiers under Operation Safe Delta attacked the militants in the creek of the community, killing the leader of the militant group identified as Ossy Ibori and 15 members of the group.

Three soldiers reportedly lost their lives and many were injured in the battle.

It was gathered that after Ibori and his men had been killed, soldiers and some other security agents remained in the area to ensure the return of normalcy to the community and also to find the fleeing members of the militant group.

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The soldiers, however, allegedly went haywire on Wednesday, killing the residents and burning down their houses.

One of the leaders of the Ajakpa community, Mr. Tonye Ebitibituwa, who spoke with journalists in Akure, the Ondo State capital, confirmed the incident, saying only the churches were not torched by the invaders.

The community leader explained that thousands of residents of the community had allegedly been rendered homeless by the invading invaders.

He said, “This morning (Wednesday), the military men came to the community with six gunboats and attacked our community. They set the whole town ablaze. The Ajakpa community did not support the killing of soldiers by Ibori’s gang.

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“ Also the community was not in any way support nor encourage the act of Ibori but the ongoing action of the military wear no human face, setting the community on fire is unnecessary. In order to manage the collateral damage, the military to be human with us”

Ebitibituwa disclosed that over 20,000 residents of the community had been rendered homeless while over 1,000 houses were affected in the community.

He also urged the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu to set up a rescue and rehabilitation committee to save the lives of the people of his community.

“The entire inhabitants of Ajakpa community have been rendered homeless without food, water and basic things of life, we appeal to the Ondo State government to assist the innocent people” the community leader urged.

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However, the Public Relations Officer of the 32 Artillery Brigade, Captain Ojo Adelegan denied the allegation. He said the soldiers that were deployed in the community could not involve in any unprofessional conduct on the field.

He said, “ Nigeria army did not involve in burning houses or killing innocent people in that community. The protection of lives and properties of the Ajakpa community is our responsibility and we are law-abiding and professionals.

“The operation we went for was to flush out the militants, so peaceful atmosphere would return to the community. If there is a burning of houses anywhere it should not be attributed to the army. Our men can never be involved in such an act.”

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