Theophilus Onojeghen, Warri
At least one person has been reportedly killed and 18 others — including a Senior Secondary School 1 student — injured in fresh hostility between Aladja community in Udu and Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South West Council areas of Delta State.
The clash was reportedly occasioned by the lingering boundary dispute between both communities.
The incident, which occurred on Tuesday morning, was said to have led to panic in both communities as residents scampered for safety during the exchange of gunfire which lasted for over four hours before security operatives brought the situation under control.
It was gathered that mobile policemen stationed in the area to maintain peace fled their duty posts following the exchange of fire by the communities.
Although it was not clear what led to the Tuesday’s attack, both communities were also engaged in verbal attacks as Aladja claimed that Ogbe-Ijoh launched their attacks with sophisticated and dangerous weapons, including traditional charms which allegedly led to the death of one person, while 15 others sustained injuries.
Ogbe-Ijoh, on the other hand, claimed that Aladja youths were first to invade their community with shootings which left three persons — including an SS1 student identified as Prosper Derin — severely injured following news that council workers were about to resume works months after the crisis started in the area.
Confirming the attack to our correspondent, Aladja Community Youth Leader, Wisdom Onatomre, alleged that youths from Ogbe-Ijoh launched the attack on the community at about 7:30am on Tuesday, adding that one Reuben Ilolo was killed in the process.
Onatomre added that they were woken up from sleep by gunshots from the Ogbe-Ijoh end of the community, saying that before they could be repelled, one person has been killed, and 15 others critically injured.
“One person has been killed as we speak. His name is Reuben Ilolo; and over 15 persons have been injured with gun wounds.
“The armed Ogbe-Ijoh youths entered Aladja with sophisticated and dangerous weapons through the Ogbe-Ijoh end of the Aladja.
“They also planted some charms on the ground. They started the attack and we were caught unawares.
“Government should come and save us from this oppression,” the Aladja community youth leader added.
Speaking on the incident, Ogbe-Ijoh Community Youth Leader, Friday Deinghan, faulted Aladja community’s claims, saying that Aladja, an Urhobo community of Udu, was first to attack their community, which led to three persons being injured.
According to him, “Since the last time Aladja community held a press briefing calling on the Federal and Delta State governments to relocate the headquarters of Warri South West from Ogbe-Ijoh, Aladja people do not want council workers to resume work.
“They started shooting into our community since last week Friday all through Sunday upon hearing that workers wanted to resume work.
“They have been shooting since 7:30am today into Ogbe-Ijoh just to scare workers.
“Three people have been injured, including One Prosper Derin, an SS1 student who was hit by a stray bullet on his way to school.
“He is presently receiving treatment at a clinic after reporting the matter to the Police Warri Area Commander’s office. As we speak, they are still exchanging gunshots.
“The State Government’s delay of the final panel report on the disputed boundary is one of the reasons why there are still crisis.
“Let the state government take a decision on the disputed land. It should also draft more security presence to the two communities so that they will deal with anybody that is fomenting trouble.”
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Aniamaka, confirmed the resumption of hostility, but added that security operatives have been deployed to the area to calm the situation.
“There is inter-communal conflict between Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja, and our men are doing their best to bring about cessation to the conflict,” he added.
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