Gunmen Storm Oil Community, One Shot, 3 Abducted, Scores Missing

EDO – Palpable tension has enveloped oil bearing Kokoloko community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State as gunmen attack residents who protested against  Sahara Enageed Resource Limited, oil servicing company in the area. 
It was gathered that by the time the dust raised by the invasion cleared, one person said to have been shot, three others kidnapped and scores missing in the sleepy riverine community of Itsekiri stock following the attack.
Local sources said most of the residents are now helplessly taking cover in the woods in the community which shares boundaries with Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State.
The incident, it was gathered happened late evening of last Sunday when armed hoodlums, suspected to have the backing of Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd which has been accused of neglecting Kokoloko, invaded the community to cart away a badge belonging to the oil and gas firm.
The hoodlums reportedly invaded the creek in five speed boats: three from Ajoki and two from Ologbo, both neighbouring Itsekiri communities, shooting at anything in sight.
But for the military operatives from the Joint Task Force (JTF) under the 19 Battalion, Nigerian Army in Koko, who stormed the community after receiving a distress call from Comrade Sunny Etchie, President-General of the community, the casualties and damage would have been higher, the source said. 
Comrade Sunny Etchie, while speaking with journalists Wednesday evening at the scene of the shooting, said the incident took place on Sunday night shortly after leaders of the community returned from the office of the Directorate of State Service to tender their grievances against Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd which had been allegedly shying away from its responsibilities in the community.
He identified the young man, who was shot as one Ayowe, with pellets pumped into his left limb and one of the three kidnapped as Ajatiton Edwin, who later escaped after his boat engine, a boat and some money were confiscated by the assailants. 
“So around 6:30 in the evening, my people called me from the village that all of them were inside the bush. 
“Asking what happened, they narrated how the Ajoki people, led by their youth chairman, one Isaac Ajatiton, came with two speed boats: two from Ajoki and three from Ologbo,” he noted.
It was also gathered that youths from Kokoloko had, during their week-long protest, seized a badge belonging to Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd, but had agreed to release it last Monday after security agents’ intervention, only for the guntotting assailants to invade the community on Sunday night to forcefully cart the badge away, leaving behind sorrow and tears!
“The JTF have tried their best on this issue,  they intervened and they told us to release the badge and I even called the crew members to come and carry the badge on Monday morning, before we saw the sponsored thugs.
“They shot one in the arm. Then the one I sent to take food to the guys that were looking after the badge to prevent vandalisation was kidnapped and released the next morning after enough beating. 
“We took him to the hospital and treated him. The place is no longer safe.  Government should come and intervene.  We don’t have police station here,  no vigilante. 
“We don’t have anything. We reported the matter and those we could identify among the assailants to Zone 5 and I believe the investigation is going on.  
The shot victim, who’s currently in pains, said he was only employed to secure the badge from vandalism when the assailants swooped on him and shot him, thanking God for escaping death.
“I am lucky to be alive this day to narrate my survival from those armed men. I was one of the security men that was guarding the boat. 
“All of a sudden, I saw some gunmen in more than four speed boats shooting at us and we were not armed.  
“They shot me and I jumped into the river with the bullet wound; I was there for more than three hours before my employer came to my rescue. And that was how I survived,” the survivor enthused. 
Meanwhile, authorities at the 19 Battalion, Nigerian Army, are said to be on the trail of the guntotting assailants, who invaded the squalid community, shot one and kidnapped three.
A senior officer in the battalion, who is not permitted to grant press audience and who said the soldiers had been monitoring the peaceful protests of Kolokolo community before the shooting, vowed to deal “mercilessly” with gun bearers in the area. 
Authorities of Sahara Enageed Resource Ltd and leaders of Ajoki and Ologbo communities could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing the report.

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