Published On: Tue, May 30th, 2023

Fear Grips Residents As Oil Thieves Invade Urhobo Community, Chase Out Vigilantes

PROTEST

LAGOS MAY 30TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Suspected oil thieves have reportedly invaded Oghior community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta, chasing away members of the vigilante.

The suspects were said to be peeved after the vigilance members joined forces with the police to rescue some kidnapped officers.

Speaking from their hideout, the vigilance members appealed to both the federal and state governments to come to their aid, stating that the suspects vowed to kill them and their families.

Chairman of the vigilantes, Wisdom Umukoro, said trouble started when policemen from Ovwian Division accosted the driver of a truck loaded with suspected stolen crude oil and directed him to lead them to where he had bought the product.

However, before getting to the bush, where he purportedly bought the product, they were ambushed by gunmen who pinned them down in a gun duel for hours, rescued the driver from their hands and almost overpowered them, but for a timely back up team of police and the vigilantes.

“We were at our checking point, when the DPO and his men were passing with their Hilux, when they saw us, he said we are here and his men are being attacked. Although we heard the gunshots, we thought it was cult boys that were fighting. He said we should join them, which we did. By the time we got there, they engaged us in a gun battle, but the police shot teargas which covered the whole place and affected the boys before we were able to rescue the other police officers who were there,” he said.

He said after the incident, the oil thieves came against them, adding that they first burnt down their checkpoint at Oghior, before visiting them and their families.

“They attacked one of us who is currently in critical condition. When they came to me, they said we were the ones who led the police to them, that they had come for us. As they were threatening, my son of 23 years tried to challenge them, and they beat him mercilessly; he, too, is injured now. I had to go into hiding. All of us and our families have left the community into hiding; we don’t know where our families are right now, we have been hiding since Friday because our lives are in danger.

“They are being led by one Asharp, who is a member of hunters. He is using hunters as a cover up to carry out his illegal activities. We are calling on the federal and state governments to come to our rescue because these boys are being backed by some top politicians from the area,” he alleged.

Also speaking, another member of the vigilante, Thomas Okoro, said, “they told us that they don’t want to see any vigilance uniform in the town; that if they see us, it would be direct killing, so we had to run for our dear lives.”

A community source said tension wass currently high in the community after the suspected oil thieves engaged security operatives in a shootout.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The arrested suspect led security operatives to the community and the hoodlums, who had barricaded the entrance to the community, engaged the police in a shootout after pinning them down.

“The security operatives were pinned down for over two hours before the arrival of the DPO from Ovwian division, who mobilised both the local vigilantes and his men to rescue the officers after a heavy gun battle. They were armed with sophisticated weapons during the gun duel and one of the suspected bunkerers, identified as Etomax, was shot on his two legs before he was taken away by the police,” the anonymous source revealed.

Sun News

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