Ben Dunno, Warri
Delta State Police Commissioner, Muhammad Mustafa, has denied the report of death allegedly recorded in last Monday’s bloody clash between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities in Udu and Warri South West Local Government Areas of the state.
He described the claims of multiple deaths by the Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities in the renewed violence as ‘false and unfounded’.
There had been controversies over the casualty figures recorded in the renewed mayhem in the communities with both claiming that their harmless indigenes were killed during the attack that lasted several hours.
However, the most controversial claim was made by the Aladja community who indicted the Nigerian Army of being responsible for the death of nine (9) of their kinsmen were allegedly killed in a cross fire by the soldiers who were deployed to return normalcy.
There were also claims by the Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South-West council area on Tuesday alleging that armed youths from Aladja killed nine of its own indigenes during the bloody encounter.
The apex Urhobo socio-cultural body, the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), lent credence to the claim by Aladja when its President-General, in a statement, called on the federal government and the army authorities to investigate the alleged incident and prosecute those found taking sides with Ogbe-Ijoh against Aladja.
But in a swift reaction to the allegation, the army had denied the claims by Aladja, describing it as part of plot by some communities in some parts of the country to blackmail the nation’s armed forces, insisting that the soldiers deployed to maintain law and order in the area did not fire a shot at anybody during the operation.
Corroborating this claim, the Delta state Commissioner of Police, CP Muhammad Mustafa, said the claims of deaths from both communities was false, even as he said that soldiers at the scene of the crisis did not shoot anyone to death.
According to him, when asked if there was any record of deaths from the Monday Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh crisis, the Delta Commissioner of Police said “no death was known to the police. Eight persons were wounded in Ogbe-Ijoh side and they are stable”.
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Reacting to the allegation that soldiers killed people in Aladja, the police boss said “it is not true. The first victim, whose house was burnt, is Ijaw. We don’t take sides. The situation was brought under control, you could have imagined what would happen been the consequences now”.
Meanwhile, worried by the wanton destruction of lives and property in the Aladja/Ogbe- Ijoh crisis, the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) Delta State branch, has called for an end of the protracted communal clashes, in order to avert the senseless bloodshed currently going on in the area.
In its extraordinary emergency executive meeting summoned on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, the state Chairman, Comrade (Dr) Prince Kehinde Taiga, condemns the bloody attacks carried out by the warring youths on Monday that has left no fewer than 9 persons killed and several others seriously injured.
The body disclosed that after a brief visit to both communities on Tuesday, it has confirmed that contrary to the report in some quarters that the Nigerian Army of 3 Battalion and Police attached to Burutu Area Command, the security agents displayed a high level of professionalism in bringing the situation under control.
Consequently, it passed a vote of confidence on the Commanding Officer 3 Battalion and the Area Commander of Burutu Police Command for immediately responding to the situation and calming down the crises which would have left countless casualties.
“We hereby urge the Delta State government led by Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa to implement the resolutions and recommendations of some committees that have been set up by past and present administration in order to daze down tension as both the lives of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh people are much valued by Deltans”.
“Playing politics with the lives of our people in those communities would spell doom and truncates the development of the state. A stitch in time saves nine”, CDHR warned.