Fear of reprisal has gripped Ndoro community in Bayelsa State, following the killing of four soldiers and another security personnel.
Fleeing residents of the community lamented that troops and military hardware were being deployed in Ekeremor local council area to hunt for those behind the crime.
Sources said a militant leader called Kareowei and his gang murdered the soldiers during a shoot out in the creeks.
Kareowei was also recently linked with the kidnapping of four Christian missionaries at Enekorogha community in Burutu local council area of Delta State.
The gang was also said to be behind the increased piracy and attacks of firms in the riverine areas.
Their exploits include last year’s attacks in Ogbobagbene, in which a soldier was killed and a general-purpose machine gun carted away.
The kidnap kingpin is also believed to have masterminded the abduction in October 2017 of Madam Ekpongbolo Preyor.
The abducted woman is the mother of a lawmaker representing Bomadi Constituency in the Delta State House of Assembly, Kenneth Oboro Preyor.
The Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Bomadi Division, Capt. Jimoh Abdul, declined to speak about the tensed situation in the area.
He said: “I’m in a very difficult terrain right now. Call 222 Battalion if you want any information. Or call the task force units for details. I do not have the authority to speak on anything right now.”
But the Pere of Akugbene-Mein Kingdom, Pere Kalanama Viii, cautioned the military to carryout their operation with professionalism.
While condemning the killing of the soldiers, he appealed to them not to harm innocent people. The Delta State Chairman, Phase 2 of the Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Muturu, also condemned the killings.
“We want peace to reign to allow development to take place in the Niger Delta region,” he said. Meanwhile, a group in Warri North Local Council has condemned alleged military invasion in Egbema kingdom.
The group, called Concerned Citizens of Polobubou (Tsekelewu) Communities (CCPC) said they would not succumb to intimidation under any guise.