Mr Kemelayefa John, alias Ibori, the kidnap suspect whose alleged pursuit by the military reportedly triggered last week invasion of Bolou-Tubegbe community in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State, has cried out that he did not kidnap anybody.
Over ten houses were razed during the operation, which was jointly carried out by the military Joint Task Force, JTF, Bomadi Division and naval personnel from Warri.
He spoke to Niger Delta Voice, NDV, on phone, upon getting wind of our visit to Tubegbe for first-hand information on the situation at Bolou-Tubegbe, weekend.
“I really don’t know why soldiers came to my community in the first place. If the soldiers came for kidnappers as reported, who did they kidnap? Was there any kidnap case?
“My enemies are at work. The soldiers came to the community-led by informants who directed them to my house and burnt it down. Not only that, they burnt down houses belonging to my brother-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law and friends.
“I believe the sin I must have committed is my agitation against the neglect meted out to Bolou-Tubegbe community by our political leaders. This is because I often call them on phone, telling them to bring development to my community.
“We don’t have a single government project in the community and as such, I frequently called our representatives on phone, both at the state and national level, asking them to bring democratic dividends to my community.
“In every election year, we will queue up to vote for them, our mothers and father would come out to vote for them only to receive nothing at the end. I don’t have anything called camp, I live among my people in Bolou-Tubegbe, what did I do to warrant this witch-hunt?
“I suspect that highly placed politicians with their informant foot-soldiers are after me because I did not offend government, neither did I kidnap anybody as alleged,” he said.
An indigene, who pleaded anonymity, recounted ordeals of the community folk after the invasion, stressing “as I speak with you, people are still crying in the community.
“Many people have been rendered homeless as over fifteen houses were burnt down with a lot of property destroyed.
“Victims have nowhere to sleep, some women are still wailing in the community.”
However, the JTF commander, Bomadi, Capt Dominic, who earlier said the operation was conducted based on intelligence information, added that the military formation had received several “bad” reports from the community.
“Actually, there are a lot of kidnappings in that area; there are a lot of bad reports coming from that community. As such, we conducted an operation based on intelligence and information. The suspects fled and nobody was apprehended,” he said.
Vanguard News Nigeria