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Nigeria: Bayelsa State community threatens shut down of Shell Petroleum facility over “missing” bodies of 3 youths shot during clash

  • Community allege 3 youths shot dead, security personnel disputes claim, says no one was shot

There is tension in Bayelsa State as bodies of three youths allegedly shot on Friday by security personnel attached to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Otuasega community, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are still missing.

The situation has led the aggrieved youths of the community to barricade the Shell gas line manifold along the Otuasega-Imiringi road, threatening to shut down the company.

Sources said that trouble started on Friday when a truck conveying a swamp buggy machine was accosted by youths of Otuasega who demanded that two tippers of chippings be poured on deplorable portions of their road, as they claimed that the road got damaged due to frequent plying of the Otuasega-Imiringi road by heavy-duty machines belonging to Shell contractors.

A resident of the community said that during a peaceful negotiation with owners of the machines being conveyed, one of the contractors alerted the security personnel attached to a nearby Shell facility.

“Upon arrival, they started shooting sporadically, causing serious commotion that led to the missing of three youths in the community,” a resident said.

The Chairman of the Otuasega Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr. Raniyar Marcus, said there was no confrontation between the youths and the security personnel before the incident.

 Marcus said the youth only pleaded with them to pour the chippings to make the road passable during the rainy season.

He said: “We discovered that the heavy-duty machines have really destroyed the road. So, we only pleaded with the Shell contractors to come and pour chippings on the road.

“While we were still discussing, a particular man who was always seen around where the soldiers are guarding Shell gas line, a surveillance man that is doing the gas work, left and came back with two soldiers and one Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and shot at us indiscriminately.

“As we speak, three of our community boys are still missing, we don’t know their whereabouts. While searching for them in the bush, we only saw a cellphone belonging to one of them. We are demanding for our missing youths and the soldiers that shot at them.

“I had gone to the Shell camp and complained what has happened to the commander there and he said he was sorry over what happened and promised to call the commander at the gas line.

“But when I got to the gas line, the commander there said he did not know me and that he was not going to discuss with me.”

When contacted, the police spokesman in Bayelsa State, SP Asinim Butswat, said the incident was not reported to the police.

He directed that all such inquiries be directed to the military and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Spokesperson for NSCDC in the State, Mr Solomon Ogbere, said that there was no gunshot during the misunderstanding between the youths and security personnel.

He described the story of missing youths as fabricated, explaining that the NSCDC officials and soldiers attached to Shell facility were there to restore peace and make way for contractors to do their work.

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