THERE is tension in Ondewari community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, following the killing of a 20 -year old man in a clash between soldiers and youths suspected to be pipeline vandals, yesterday.
It was gathered that some youths in the community who are aggrieved over their exclusion from the council’s petroleum task force committee, had in recent times taken to vandalizing pipelines belonging to multinational oil firms in the community to demonstrate their protest.
According to community sources, the council’s petroleum task force committee had enlisted the support of the soldiers attached a multinational company in the area to wade off the youths, which had led to bloody clashes between them and youths, who were forced to flee the community to the forest.
It was also gathered that the clash, which is the second in four days, also left several others badly wounded with machete cuts and gunshot injuries on both sides. The acting paramount ruler and regent of the community, Chief Peresho Erefawari, who confirmed the incident in a telephone chat, said that indigenes of the community have been living in fear as a result of constant clashes between soldiers, task force members and youths.
He called on the state government to intervene in the crisis to avert further loss of lives, adding that two of the community’s youths have lost their lives to the crisis. A source at the headquarters of Operation Delta Safe, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who denied soldiers’ involvement in the killing, said that youths in the area have been clashing over pipeline surveillance contracts.