The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has strongly condemned the rape of two Ogoni women by Nigerian soldiers currently raiding Ogoni in search for criminal gangs. The two women were confirmed raped by armed soldiers in Biara and Mogho both in Gokana local government area, MOSOP claimed.
The Federation of Ogoni Women's Association (FOWA) has reported at least seven cases of rape in Gokana and Khana local government areas in the past days.
MOSOP said while it supports the move to eliminate criminal gangs, it is strongly opposed to the current activities of Nigerian soldiers turning their interests to Ogoni women and peaceful civilians, calling on the military authorities to commission investigations into these abuses.
“While we insist that only proper and effective policing can check the activities of criminals in a civil society like Ogoni, we demand explanations by the military authorities on the progress made in the current operations particularly in respect of the criminals they sought to arrest, those that have been arrested and the sponsors (politicians and oil companies) identified to be funding the criminal gangs.
In our opinion, the current operations do not seem to have a strategic focus rather, soldiers are simply descending heavily on every civilian, raping women, torturing and also extorting the people all to justify their presence in Ogoni”.
In K-Dere, Gokana local government area, Wednesday, Sept. 11, soldiers allegedly shot and killed two persons and left with their corpses.
Also in K-Dere, a widow repeatedly had her house burnt, her neighbor seriously beaten and NGN29,000 she kept for her child's school fees taken away by soldiers.
MOSOP further claimed: “seven persons were killed in Baen, Khana local government area on Wednesday, September 11 including the son to a king. No further details have been made available on who they were. We seek to know their full identities and their relationship with the criminals.
In B-Dere in Gokana local government area, four houses have been burnt. Also in Nwebiara in Gokana local government area, at least two houses have been burnt including the home of the paramount ruler and youth president of the community.
Yesterday, September 13, the home of Mr. Sunday Nanwin was burnt down in Bera, Gokana local government area. Another home belonging to a traditional priest was razed in the same community.
Sacred places are now being desecrated and burnt down with the thinking that they provide some spiritual inoculation to criminals. The entire operation is losing a strategic focus as far as we are concerned and only increasing social apprehension, civilian abuses and casualties.
Passersby are subjected to inhuman treatment and will have to trek long distances, up to 1km, with hands raised, forced to chant a slogan: "i want peace" Children are worst hit as families are no longer free to walk the roads to their farms and basic food supplies are cut.
We have received reports of destruction and killings in Gwara, Zaakpon, Kapnon. We will want details about these operations and guarantees about the safety of innocent local people.
Finally we hope that this military operation does not transcend into an onslaught against the civil Ogoni population to weaken Ogoni's demands for basic rights and resistance against forceful oil resumption emanating from long years of abuses”.