Youths flee Rivers community over gunmen invasion

Port Harcourt—Scores of youths from Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State have fled their homes following alleged threats to their lives by armed gangs who invaded the area.

It was gathered that the miscreants had chased many of the youths out of the community after they took a stand against gang violence and reportedly signed an agreement under the supervision of the local government authority in August last year.

Spokesperson for the fleeing Bodo youths, Joseph Dinebari, disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

Dinebari said the dozens of gunmen were freely brandishing sophisticated weapons in the community and threatening mayhem, saying they were the same people who invaded the area in August last year and killed some indigenes.

He said many of the youths were currently seeking refuge in Port Harcourt, the state capital, neighbouring Eleme and Bonny in Rivers as well as in Bayelsa State for fear of being killed.

Dinebari alleged that the assailants were the same group of people who killed the former Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada, SP Bako Angbashim, in September last year.

According to him, “There are over 100 people from the Bodo community roaming the streets of Port Harcourt, Eleme, Bonny, Bayelsa and Cameroon.

“They have been chased away since the first, second and third week of August 2023 by gunmen who invaded the community with AK-47 rifles.

“The same set that was behind the killing of the late Bako Angbanshin in Ahoada. They came to Bodo and began door-to-door search with the intent of killing us.

“They succeeded in killing four people from August 24 to September 4, 2023. Those shot dead have not been buried till date.”

Punch reports that he called on the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to save the community from the killer gangs and urged him to set up a special panel inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of three fishermen in August.

“We therefore call on the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, to set up a panel of inquiry composed of people who are neutral with high level integrity and who have the interest of the people at heart.

“That of truth, justice and fairness, not a compromised group of people. We want to talk with our father, the governor, as the chief security officer of the state.

“We believe he has brought a new spirit and style of governance to the state. Please, over 100 of us want to seek an audience with you or delegate people to speak with us,” Dinebari added.

When contacted, spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said the Divisional Police Officer of the area said calm had returned.

She stated, “I can’t say if they have foes in the area but from what I was told, people are going about their normal activities now. There is calm.”

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