Fresh Gun Battle Threatens Ugborodo Peace Deal
BEVERLY HILLS, March 12, (THEWILL) - Fierce fighting between rival youth groups in Ugborodo, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, is threatening the peace deal in community, THEWILL can report.
This is coming as personnel of Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, in conjunction with soldiers attached to Joint Task Force, on Wednesday arrested a man with AK47 rifle while on a mission to breach the peace in the community The suspect, simply identified as Enisuru Monrovapac, alongside others now at large, were arrested after a gun duel late Tuesday in the community.
In the fresh violence, the militia youths suspected to be mercenaries from neighbouring Ilaje communities had allegedly engaged perceived 'enemies' of their paymaster in a gun battle in a bid to force the government to back off the peace deal.
Under the peace deal, the government had reportedly agreed with the feuding factions in Ugborodo to send ten persons to represent them in the interface committee between them and the Federal Government.
THEWILL gathered that the faction allegedly loyal to David Tonwe, Alex Ideh and Pa.
Johnson Ayomike were said to have disagreed over the arrangement, insisting that they alone should be nominated into the committee.
The contention is over a whopping $16 billion Export Processing Zone (EPZ) project being sited at Ogidigben by the Federal Government.
The peace deal which was reached between the stakeholders in Abuja was pushed into a near close after the Tonwe's faction reportedly refused to turn up for meetings called by the authorities, a source said.
The shooting on Tuesday night which led to the arrest by a joint patrol of Navy and soldiers who are stationed in the Delta waterways is evident that some militia youths who are on the payroll of 'rivalry chieftains' are set to cause mayhem in the area since the peace deal is not favourable to them.
When contacted on phone, the Commanding Officer of NNS Delta, Capt.
Musa Gemu, confirmed the arrest of one of the mercenaries to THEWILL.
He said the Navy personnel alongside soldiers of the Joint Task Force who were on patrol in the waterway got information that some youths were fighting in Ugborodo.
Gemu said his men moved in immediately to quell the fighting and stop it from escalating.
He said in the course of combing the area after the youths had fled, one of the warring youths was found with an AK47 rifle and was arrested.
The suspect was still with the Navy undergoing preliminary interrogation before being transferred to the Police Area Command in Warri.
A source said the suspect was one of the mercenaries allegedly being used by the Tonwe's faction to foment trouble in the community.
Chairman of a local youth organisation in the area, Ogidigben Youth Group, David Mamah, who is believed to loyal to Thomas Eriyitomi, one of the arrow heads of the crisis, claims that the arrested suspect is of the David Tonwe faction.
'Before yesterday, they have been threatening to attack people in the community, Mamah said, adding "I was in my compound yesterday when some of my boys ran to me with injuries.
This is a matter over which we have all signed undertaking.
'But some persons crossed from other side shooting and wounding people with cutlasses,' he said.
He added: "The Navy came and it is calm now but a lot of residents have fled into the bush for fear of their lives.
They are always attacking us, and no one knows when they will come again.
' But a member of another faction loyal David Tonwe, who simply gave his name as Ovie Otionwe alleged that it was Eriyitomi faction's loyalists that perpetrated the latest attack,saying 'They first attacked one Edwin at Akpakpa, near the Shell Beach Tuesday afternoon.