There is panic in Okoma community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State as men of the Nigerian Army allegedly invaded the community and burnt down several houses.
Residents of the area said the incident happened on Saturday, adding that they do not know the reason for the action.
WhenVanguardvisited the troubled area, yesterday, the community was still deserted with few aged persons stranded in the community.
Speaking, the Paramount Ruler of the community, Chief Felix Ogubie, said residents have moved to nearby communities for refuge following molestations from the soldiers, who invaded the area.
He said: “We were here in our house when soldiers came and started shooting and destroyed houses. They said they were after oil thieves. They beat up women and men.
“They are the same people that eat with those oil thieves. They came and burnt my house without any reason. I am not involved in what they are doing, so also others.
“They burnt many houses and our people have all left the community. We don’t want Shell Petroleum Development Company in our land again. They should remove the facilities here.
“The people doing this oil business are not from here. They come from other communities and states. When we report the boys to the security operatives, they will still inform the boys who gave them the information and the boys will come after such persons.”
He called on the federal and state governments to intervene in the matter, adding that the community has not resettled since the incidence as military men still visit the area at intervals.
However, at press time, the Nigerian Army has not responded to the calls and message made to it on the development.