Three youths who were allegedly shot, on Friday, by the security personnel attached to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are still missing.
The whereabouts of the youth have caused tension in the Otuasega community.
Newsmen gathered that trouble started 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.
They had claimed that the road got damaged due to frequent plying of the Otuasega-Imiringi road by heavy-duty machines belonging to Shell contractors.
Youths in the community told journalists that during a peaceful negotiation with owners of the machines, one of the contractors alerted the security personnel attached to a nearby Shell facility.
“Upon arrival, they started shooting sporadically, causing a serious commotion that led to the missing of three youths in the community,” a resident said.
The aggrieved youths have barricaded the Shell gas line manifold along the Otuasega-Imiringi road, threatening to shut down the company.
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 inquiries to the military and NSCDC.
The spokesman 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 the Shell facility were there to restore peace and make way for contractors to do their work.