Outrage as Navy Shoots, Wounds 10 Ijaw Youths in Warri Claiming Accidental Discharge


By Sylvester Idowu in Warri
There was public outrage in parts of Warri and environs as operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Delta) Warri in Delta State shot and wounded 10 Ijaw youths on Thursday night in an alleged accidental discharge by some personnel.
THISDAY checks revealed that the victims were relaxing in their community at Sandfill 1, directly opposite the Navy Base along Warri river, after returning from work when shots rang out from the barracks and hit them.
It was gathered that several of them were injured but that the 10 of them were seriously wounded and were rushed to Navy Hospital at Effurun near Warri for treatment by the Management of the Navy Base.
Sources at the Base told THISDAY that the personnel were loading their weapons when there were sudden discharges that fled into the riverine community, hitting the victims.
But another source claimed that the Navy personnel were in a shooting exercise at about 5.30 p.m when the incident occurred.
It was learnt that following protests by the villagers and growing tension resulting from the incident, the top officers moved into the community to allay the fears of the people, assuring that the shooting was not intentional.
Sources said the officers then evacuated some victims that were badly wounded in a Hilux jeep to the Navy hospital and romised to bear all the expenses incurred in their treatment.
Two of the victims were identified as Moneygirl Okilo and Andrew Okilo while the identities of others were yet to be ascertained at the time of filing this report.
Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Joseph Dwunze, refused to pick calls to his mobile phone nor responded to a text message on the incident but a senior officer confirmed the development.
He however denied that 10 victims were involved, maintaining that five persons were affected.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) has condemned the incident which it saw as another attack by the military on Ijaw community.
Both the National President of IPDI, Comrade Austin Ozobo, and its spokesperson, Mayor Timi Ogobiri, condemned the excuse given by the Navy, saying it wasn’t the first time such would happen in the village.