Rivers Community Protests Alleged Killing Of Indigenes By Militia

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Members of Degema community, the headquarters of the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have protested at the Government House in Port Harcourt to demand an investigation into the alleged killing of their indigenes and the prosecution of the perpetrators.

There were reports of a clash in the community last week, with at least one fatality.

But the opinion leaders of the community, Samuel Wilcox and Miyante Agi, who led the protest said at least 16 persons were killed on February 24 by an armed militia group working for a prominent ex-militant leader in the area.

They said some of the bodies, including that of a serving army officer and a member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDS) are still being detained by the militias.

They said the victims were part of a larger number of indigenes that were ambushed near the old British Consulate in the community while on their way to a mortuary to retrieve the corpse of an elderly woman for a funeral.

They explained that the militias had been restricting movements within and around the historical site, claiming that the ex-militant who is not an indigene of the community and has not come from the Local Government Area had purchased the building that served as a consulate from the family of the original owner.

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Degema is conveniently categorised as one of the three Kalabari-speaking Local Government Councils, but not all the communities within the LGA speak the Kalabari language.

The opinion leaders say they view the action of the ex-militant leader as deliberate to alienate the non-Kalabri-speaking people of Degema.

They said their letter of protest was submitted to Governor Siminalayi Fubara through the office of his Chief Security Officer.

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