Sylvester Idowu in Warri
There was palpable tension across Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State on Saturday as heavily armed soldiers from Sector One of the Joint Task Force (JTF) invaded Oporoza and three other communities in search of suspected militants.
The operation, which was commanded by an Army Captain (names witheld), caught the indigenes of the affected communities unawares and sent jitters down the spines of youths and men
THISDAY checks revealed that the soldiers decided to visit Oporoza, where the country home of ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo is located, to fish out suspected militants allegedly behind recent bombings of oil facilities in the Kingdom.
The four other communities invaded were Mekama, Tejubor, Okpaleme (which were invaded a week ago) as well as Okerenkoko.
Community sources disclosed that the soldiers arrived Oporoza, the headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, about 8 a.m in speed boats and gun boats and went in search of the militants in some of the homes already marked, allegedly based on intelligence reports.
“The soldiers broke into several houses in search of targeted persons, sending panic round by communities and causing residents to desert their homes and seek cover in the bushes”, the source said.
Chairman of Kokodiagbene community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, who confirmed incident said that many residents fled to the bush upon sighting the armed soldiers.
Mulade, who is also the National Coordinator of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), disclosed that many of the people who fled into the bush for cover including, women and children, had returned as at last night.