No fewer than 3 youths and an elderly man were, yesterday, shot dead at Ajamita community in Warri North council area of Delta State, while about 34 houses were burnt down at Gbokoda, Ajamita and Udo riverine communities off the Atlantic Ocean by armed Ijaw youths in an early morning attack.
The armed youths were said to have invaded the three communities at 5.00a.m., shooting sporadically with indigenes running into nearby bush for safety.
President of Itsekiri Development Association, IDA, and member of Delta State Waterways Security Committee, Mr. Omolubi Newuwumi, said the perpetrators were the same Ijaw youths from Egbema that recently sparked off crisis by hijacking and kidnapping some boats and persons travelling to various communities along the Benin River axis of Warri.
Adding that their mission was to ignite another round of Itsekiri/Ijaw fratricidal war from which they intend to make enormous financial gains as in the recent past and they do not enjoy the support of well meaning Ijaw leaders and youths of Egbema kingdom, who cherish the peaceful co-existence now in place.
Chairman, Warri Study Group, WSG, and Secretary to the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, Mr. Edward Ekpoko has, however, called on the Federal and state governments, and all security agencies to investigate the killings and unwarranted burning of houses by the attackers with a view to bringing them to book to serve as deterrent to others with similar evil intentions.
Ijaw elder statesman and Egbema leader, Chief Emma Ebimami condemned the attacks and the killings, arguing that as a result of the leadership tussle in Itsekiri communities, some aggrieved Itsekiri youths could have invited the Ijaw youths to come to their assistance. He stressed the need to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.
Meanwhile, Mr. Omolubi said the Commanding Officer of the Joint Task Force, JTF, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, has since relocated to the troubled areas to ascertain the level of carnage, saying that they are working round the clock to apprehend the assailants.
He charged Itsekiri youths to exercise patience.
The corpses of the three dead youths are currently at a private morgue in Sapele, while the elderly man was said to have been buried at his community.