Residents at Ikeinghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw council, Bayelsa are fleeing the area following a clash between rival armed groups at an oilfield operated by Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
A resident said Sunday that the groups were struggling for control of the Ogboinbiri-Tebidaba crude trunk line which passed through the area.
Mr. Ebidimo Joseph said that residents were scared and were leaving to neighbouring villages for cover.
“We understand it is a conflict between two armed groups for the access to the crude pipeline, one group claims to be working to safeguard the pipeline and said the other group are vandals; they have been shooting.
“The sound of the gunfire is scary, and there is no sign of the Joint Task Force soldiers who are supposed to be patrolling the area, we have not seen any soldier,” Joseph said
According to Joseph, the pipeline was set ablaze while the two groups engaged each other in the gun battle adding that there was no way to ascertain if there was any casualty yet.
He said that a thick ‘cloud of smoke’ had enveloped the community and polluted the atmosphere in the area.
Efforts to get comments from Col. Isa Ado, Spokesman of the Joint military force deployed to protect oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta were futile as he declined to take calls to his mobile phone.
Col. Ado also did not reply to text messages requesting for comments.