A detachment of troops of the joint military force deployed to the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe on Tuesday morning dispersed hundreds of ex-militants who blocked the East-West road with fire arms injuring one of the ex-militants.
The ex-militants who reportedly fall under phases 1 to 3 of the amnesty scheme blocked the Mbiama axis of the East-West road to motorists at about 6.30 am, Tuesday morning.
Respite, however, came to the trapped motorists when armed troops of the joint task force arrived in two patrol vans to remove the blockade and open the road to the public at around 7.30 am.
The soldiers fired several warning shots into the air which compelled the protesters to scamper to several directions to safety.
Mr Elliot Seimiebo, an ex-militant who is on the phase 1 of the amnesty scheme said on Tuesday morning that the soldiers had used the firearms to disperse the peaceful protest aimed at drawing the attention to the neglect of their welfare.
“We had renounced violence and remain peaceful in all our approaches; our intention was to draw attention to the nonpayment of our stipends for four months.
“We were not armed but the soldiers turned their weapons on us and there was confusion as people ran for their lives, one of the protesters was hit by stray bullet and got injured on his leg,” Seimiebo said.
When contacted, Lt.-Cdr. Thomas Otuji, spokesman of Operation Delta Safe said that the claims that protesters were shot was untrue.
“Our troops were sent to the scene to ensure free flow of traffic and they went there to clear the blockade on the East-West road and there is no such report at my disposal as we speak, the protesters were professionally dispersed” Otuji said by phone.
Also Mr Piriye Kirayamo, Liason Officerat the Amnesty Office in Yenagoa sais that the office was aware of the liability to the militants but assured that efforts were underway to clear the backlog of stipends.
“We have been in discussions with the ex-agitators and have been appealing to them to remain calm, the office is doing everything to ensure that their stipends are paid,” Kiyaramo said.