Kegbara Dere an agrarian community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State is one of the Ogoni communities that is in dispute with Shell over the despoliation of their environment as a result of oil exploration and exploitation by the oil company.
Trouble started when the contractor engaged by Shell went to the SPDC Transnational Trunkline in Kegbara Dere to carry out repair work in one of the raptured oil pipelines.
Eye witness account had it that the youths of the community, who were not happy that Shell had entered the community to carry out repair work without their knowledge, barricaded the trunkline and obstructed the staff of the company from carrying the repair work.
Infuriated by the development the soldiers who came with the contractor allegedly opened fire on the protesting youths killing one of them on the spot while scores of others were injured.
The Ogoni apex socio cultural body, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP condemned the incident and called on the security agencies to stop the alleged reckless killings in the communities.
Immediate past MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara said he received report of military raid in Kegbara Dere Community, which he said led to the death of a middle aged man, Nen-elkpege Lezor.
He said that information he received said soldiers came with SPDC pipeline workers and started shooting without any explanation resulting to the death of a young man while others were injured.
He said even though MOSOP would support government’s efforts to fight criminality in Ogoniland it would not tolerate unprovoked military onslaught and reckless killings in the community.
He called for investigation into the incident and government must ensure that the military or any arm of the security agencies act within the ambit of the law.
“We call on relevant security agencies, particularly the police to urgently commence investigation into the reported military raid and the killing in K. Dere Community and ensure that all those behind such destructive and unwarranted operations are brought to book to avert total breakdown of law and order in the area.
Another prominent leader of MOSOP, Bari-ara Kpalap also condemned the alleged army invasion of K-Dere Community .
Kpalap in a statement signed by his Media aide, Fyneface Dumnamene, said there was no incident or crisis in K-Dere community to warrant the alleged invasion, shooting and killings by the Nigerian Army personnel.
Kpalap alleged that the soldiers involved were hired by Shell to provide security for their staff working on a ruptured part of the trans-Niger Delta pipeline after an explosion and fire outbreak allegedly caused by acts of sabotage but abandoned their duty posts and went into K-Dere community, barricaded the roads, started harassing people without any provocation.
He, therefore, called on both Shell and the Nigerian army to stop further killings of Ogoni people “as Ogoni is not at war with anybody’’.
He further called on the authorities to investigate the alleged invasion and bring the soldiers that perpetrated the alleged violence and killings to book.
However, the Director of Defence Information, Col. Nkwachukwu, who spoke to a radio station in Port Harcourt denied that soldiers killed any person in Ogoni land.
He said that the soldiers that accompanied Shell workers on repair work had fired warning shots into the air to scare away youths of the community from getting close to a manifold adding that nobody was shot by the soldiers.
Efforts made to speak with Shell Spokesman, Michael Adande proved abortive . He did not also reply text massage sent to his phone.
In the meantime the youths of the community have given Shell a seven-day ultimatum to apologise over the alleged invasion and killing of their kinsman or face a legal action .