Ovie Okpare, Warri
Gunmen suspected to be Ijaw youths from Ogbe-Ijoh community in the Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, on Saturday evening attacked the patrol team of the Nigeria Immigration Service, injuring one and then collected two riffles belonging to the officers.
Our correspondent learnt that an operative of the Marine Police team who rushed to the scene to rescue the officers also sustained a gunshot injury in his hand during the attack which lasted for over 30 minutes at about 6:40pm on Saturday.
The NIS operatives were attacked by the gunmen who chanted in the Ijaw language war songs along the creeks of Fegenegbene community, opposite Ogbe-Ijoh while heading towards the Warri Main Market.
A source attached to the Marine Police Post in Warri said, “If not for the swift intervention of the police, three operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service and a civilian speedboat pilot would have been abducted by the heavily armed men numbering about ten.
It was learnt that the attack was not unconnected with the recent rivalry over the disputed land boundary between Aladja community in Udu Council and Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South West Council areas of the state.
One of the victims who spoke under a strict condition of anonymity said, “At about 6:40pm our patrol team was heading towards Warri Main Market when armed youths shot continuously at our boat. They demanded that we follow them after disarming us. They accused us that we were Urhobo people and they will kill us.
“As we were arguing, one of the youths confirmed that our pilot (boat driver) is an Urhobo boy and they wanted to kill him, luckily he jumped into the water. Our team leader, an Assistant Superintendent of the NIS was hit with the butt of their riffle. They also engaged operatives of the Marine Police. One of them was shot in his hand before they fled.”
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Delta State Command of NIS, Joy Obikwe, an Assistant Superintendent, confirmed the incident but said she has not been briefed with details.