The attempts by hundreds of ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme to block the East-West road in protest against the unpaid three months allowances to beneficiaries was yesterday thwarted by Armed troops attached to the Joint Military Task Force known as Operation Delta Safe (ODS).
The protesters, according to eyewitnesses, had converged at the Bayelsa section of the East-West road as early as 5am on Tuesday but were shocked over the alleged ambush staged by soldiers attached to the Joint Military Task Force.
An ex-militant identified as Bobra Angese, who claimed to have witnessed the aborted procession, said though scores of ex-militant youths converged at the venue as planned for a peaceful procession against the unpaid three months allowances, “ the soldiers shocked many of them with an ambush. They descended on them and flog them with horse whips.”
Angese claimed that many of the ex-militants beat a retreat, while few others on their way to join the planned protest also beat a retreat. “When I saw the rowdy scene, I retreated and move away.
But it is not fair that we can not express ourselve under this democracy. This is the second time, the troops of the Nigerian Army will be doing this to the aggrieved beneficiaries of the Amnesty initiative of the Federal Government.”
Many of the aggrieved ex-militants called on the President, Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure that the three months allowances owed them are paid, “the attitude of the soldiers was with malice. They shot sporadically into the air and caused panic at the Mbiama Market. It would have been worse but we give glory to God.”
Contacted on the development, the Acting Coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre of ODS,Lt. Cmdr Thomas Otuji ODS, denied the report on the alleged armed Soldiers ambush and flogging with horse whips, “ Yes, there was an attempt by some ex-militant youths to block the Mbiama and East-West road with vehicles.”
“At a point some of the boys were confrontational and we’re prevailed upon.”
Osuji also denied alleged sporadic shooting by the ODS troops,saying there was no single shot fired and noone died in the aborted protest.