Troops of the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday allegedly invaded the Azagbene community in the Ekermor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and burnt down houses after chasing away residents.
The rampaging soldiers were said to be in search of suspected militants who allegedly killed two of their colleagues guarding a crude oil facility in the area.
According to a community source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the armed suspected militants had come in a speedboat on Monday night and open fire on the unsuspecting soldiers.
While two of the soldiers died in the surprise attack, one of their colleagues was missing while their rifles were carted away.
He said the attack on the soldiers might have provoked their colleagues as stern looking troops on Tuesday morning invaded the community, burnt houses while the villagers scampered into the bush for safety.
“When the soldiers entered our community, they directed us to leave because they were going to burn everything to the ground and that anybody that failed to comply with the directive would be killed.
“Before some of us left the community, I saw the building of our paramount ruler on fire. Even my family house had been burnt to the ground. As I speak with you, we are suffering for a crime we didn’t commit.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Danjuma Jonah, confirmed the death of two of its personnel but denied burning down houses in the community.
He said, “Our men did not burn down houses in Azagbene community. We are only combing the community and neighbouring towns in search of one soldier that is missing as a result of the attack that led to the death of two other soldiers. We are carrying out the search for the missing soldier in conjunction with the leaders of the community.
“So, that is what is going on now. I cannot give you the details of the operation until it’s over.”