Men of the Nigerian Army’s Operation Crocodile Smile II have reportedly destroyed Ajakurama community in Ovia South West local government area of Edo State.The incident, said to have occurred in the early hours of Monday, resulted in the destruction of 15 houses, as residents area fled for their lives.
According to a source, the military men arrived in nine gunboats and several speedboats and set the houses ablaze, claiming they harboured suspected kidnappers. Spokesperson for 4 Brigade Nigerian Army in Benin City, Captain Muhammed Maidawa, confirmed the incident, saying the army had credible information militants were using the area.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Nkombe, however said he was not aware of any such action by the military.The soldiers were allegedly invited to the area by an ex-militant leader, Ejuene Peres, in a bid to settle old scores with perceived enemies.
The source alleged Peres personally pointed out the target buildings to the soldiers. Peres however denied this. He said: “I did not invite any soldier to Ajakurama. Ajakurama is a Nigerian community; soldiers can go there for any of their investigations. If soldiers went to Ajakurama, no one should call me. As for the people who offended me, I wrote a petition to the IGP and the IGP recommended the petition to the AIG. The AIG invited them, so they should go and answer the AIG who is still waiting for them.
“So, if anything happened to them, I don’t know where they have put their hands. I have no hand in the matter. They should ask the federal government how soldiers came to Ajakurama. They should ask Abuja. They should ask Zone 5. They should ask Operation Crocodile in Warri why they are in Ajakurama.”