Ijaws of Gbaramatu accuse military of shooting women, children

Acting Secretary of Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, has described last Thursday’s bombardment as a targeted attempt to annihilate Ijaws of Gbaramatu kingdom.

He made the submission on Saturday in Warri, Delta State, following the military aerial and land bombardment of creeks in Burutu Local Government Area of the state.

Troops attached to Sector 1, Joint Task Force (JTF), codenamed Operation Delta Safe (ODS) had, with about 10 gunboats and two fighter jets, raided suspected militant camps at Okosugbene, Burutu.

He accused the troops of shooting and injuring women and children during the early morning bombardment of mostly Ijaw communities and settlements in Warri South West and Burutu local government areas of the state.

Decrying the bombardment,Chief Gbenekama said: “I am constrained to bring to the notice of the world and well-meaning Nigerians that the military invasion of our communities in Gbaramatu and other Ijaw communities of Warri South West Local Government Area of  the state has continued and it’s assuming a very dangerous dimension.

“Last week, the Nigerian military invaded some communities in Gbaramatu, including Kurutie, where a child reportedly died due to the invasion.

“That same day, the military also tested their guns on an Ijaw settlement just opposite the naval base close to Igbogbene and this exercise left many casualties in its wake.”

Chief Gbenekama added that over 10 gunboats filled with military personnel moved from one Gbaramatu community to the other without engaging any of the community folks or the leadership of Gbaramatu kingdom.

“They would not even explain their presence in the communities to the king or any member of the Gbaramatu Traditional Council,” he said.

Gbenekama, who is the Benemowei-Ibe of Gbaramatu kingdom, called on political office holders in the state to wake up to their responsibilities by calling the Federal Government to order.

He posited that people of the kingdom were “now being treated like slaves in a nation we call our own.”