By Sylvester Idowu in  Warri

There was a fierce shoot out between suspected oil thieves, pirates, armed youths and heavily armed soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) code-named Operation Delta Safe yesterday in  the troubled oil-rich Ugborodo community in Escravos, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.

The soldiers, security sources told THISDAY last night, were in the community to flush out miscreants and armed youths causing crisis in the area which was threatening the $ 16billion Delta Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and $20billion Gas Revolution Industrial Park and several other oil and gas related projects in the area.

It was gathered that the gun duel between the soldiers and the suspected miscreants, which lasted for several hours, led to the killing of one unidentified youth.

The military operation, it was learnt, started first from the Madangho and Ajudiabo axis to Ogidigben where they encountered serious opposition last Saturday before extending their operation to the Ode-Ugborodo axis where the alleged head of the illegal bunkerer and his gang were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the security agents and therefore allegedly fled into the bush while the soldiers took over the community.

Former Vice-Chairman of Ugborodo Community Trust, Mr. Isaac Botosan, told journalists that the people of the community jubiliated over the military operation.

“It is a welcome development to rid the community of those miscreants, non-indigenes, oil thieves and armed youths. Itherefore appeal to the federal government to keep the military men on ground until the entire Ugborodo is secured for normal habitation and genuine business.

“The military men should be stationed at Ugborodo to restore sanity until further notice. The head of the oil thieves and his gang have already fled. The Whole of Ugborodo is now free of the miscreants and their nuisance value.

“Most of these youths are hired hoodlums from other community outside Ugborodo. In fact the one that was killed in the shootout is said to be from Ilaje axis. They were brought in to cause maximum insecurity in Ugborodo community through their illegal business and other social vices. I

want the military men to remain at Ugborodo until total peace and sanity is restored,” Botosan stated.

Some youths were said to have attacked the boat conveying the Ologbotsere of Warri kingdom to Ugborodo on Saturday evening injuring some persons until they were over powered by the security escort team that paved way for the easy landing of the chief.

A faction of the Ugborodo youths at Escravos had pronounced themselves to be outside the domain and authority of the Itsekiri monarch recently just as Ugborodo elders and respected indigenes had denounced the youths for taking their exuberance too far and beyond acceptable limits.

Effort to get the Media Coordinator of JTF. Major Abdullai Ibrahim proved abortive as his phone was failed to connect.