Home CRIME Delta Inter-Communal Clash: Okoloba community warns against continued attacks, stop-and-search operations by...

Delta Inter-Communal Clash: Okoloba community warns against continued attacks, stop-and-search operations by Okuama

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File photo: Ex-militants of Niger Delta

 

*Our fishermen were attacked again—Okoloba community chair

*We didn’t attack anybody—Okuama indigene

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*Indigenes want Gov. Oborevwori’s swift action

 

By Chancel Sunday, Bomadi

The attention of Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori has again, been drawn to the unresolved crisis between Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area and Okoloba community in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State over land dispute, which culminated into exchange of firearms between the two communities last month.

Recent developments had it that, there had been stop-and-search operations and attacks on market boats passing by the river, allegedly perpetrated by the people of Okuama community.

The chairman of Okoloba community, Mr Clement Koki, narrating recent developments before newsmen, said: “On 20th February, 2024, the people of Okuama carried out what is called stop-and-search operation on market boats returning from Okuagbe Market, searching for Okoloba indigenes in the boats.

“They threatened the market boat drivers with guns to stop at their community waterfront, searched everywhere looking for indigenes of Okoloba community. They vowed to kill anyone if found and their evil act spread everywhere.

“On the following day, 21st February, 2024, our women who were fishing at the Mein-toruabubor River were threatened with guns and chased back home, warning them not to return to their fishing grounds. The Mein-toruabubor River belongs to Okoloba community. They repeated the same act on fishermen fishing in the same river the following day, 22nd February, 2024, chasing them away and threatened them never to return.

“Again, the same trouble-mongering Okuama people have taken over our fishponds in the forest, bailing them at will with threats to their owners to steer clear from them.

“There was also a plan by the people of Okuama to attack teachers coming from Bomadi to Okoloba to carry out their assigned duties in the community. The plan was leaked out to the teachers and out of fear they stopped at Akugbene waterfront, hesitant to continue the journey. On getting the information, we had to go personally to Akugbene to convey them to our community.

“These things are happening after the state government had called both parties for a meeting on 6th February, 2024 at Government House, Asaba. Yet, they continued troubling us since after that peace pact. As pece-loving people, we decided to abide by the decision of government to remain calm and peaceful in the area.

“Okuama community has always been oppressing us, they’re always on the offensive. You know the aftermath of that night incident when we confronted the mercenaries hired by Okuama community to attack us, who abandoned their speedboat and fled. We have already handed over the abandoned speedboat, two rifles, a single barrel, ammunition and charms left in the speedboat to the Bomadi Police Division.

“We will continue to maintain the peace but if we’re pushed to the wall, we will respond, we’ll resort to self-defence and we will not be blamed for it. We know all the routes and bushpaths they are passing through to neighbouring communities, we just decided to fold our arms to watch them.

“But, when we can no longer bear their excesses, when we can no longer bear the aggression, we will respond to them and we are using this medium, once again, to call on the state government to call Okuama community to order”.

However, when contacted over the purported recent developments, an indigene of Okuama community, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “the allegations are fabricated and are unfounded. They’re just claims and not the truth”.

However, a leader of Okuama community, Prof. Okpokpor, who also spoke to our reporter over the crisis, said: “We are not at any offensive but the people of Okoloba are, who are sponsored by a renown indigene of the community, and who is buying arms for them”.

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