Posted by By Emma Arubi on
SOLDIERS from the 7th Amphibious Battalion, yesterday, in Warri, caused another round of panic and stampede when they set no fewer than eight houses ablaze at the Warri Corner opposite the Naval Base, NNS Delta.
WARRI — SOLDIERS from the 7th Amphibious Battalion, yesterday, in Warri, caused another round of panic and stampede when they set no fewer than eight houses ablaze at the Warri Corner opposite the Naval Base, NNS Delta.
A thick ball of smoke was still when Vanguard got to the Marine Base of the Nigeria Police, Warri.
The soldiers led by one Lieutenant was alleged to have carried out the burning on the pretext that they heard two gun shots from the Ijaw inhabited settlements that attracted their attention.
However, a youth leader who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity insisted that no shooting took place and men of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Hope, were stationed in the area, saying that the invaders' main objective was to come and loot properties and create the impression of renewed ethnic crisis in Warri, adding that "the burning has nothing to do with Itsekiri."
However in a release from the office of the Joint Task Force and signed by Maj. S.A. Hammed, the Joint Task Force stated that they only went there to evict illegal occupants who infiltrated the area at night for dubious and nefarious activities but met with stiff resistance and in the ensuing conflict, some houses where touched by unknown persons, stressing that the Delta State Government had earlier issued a statement that nobody should be allowed to enter in the area. He emphasized that investigation into the incident is on.
But the Special Assistant (SA) to Governor Ibori on Community Affairs, Chief Couple Oromoni who spoke to newsmen on the incident said "when I got to the scene and confronted the Lieutenant, he lied that there was gunshot when in fact there was no such thing. And he was busy setting houses ablaze in the villages. I then called the Secretary to the State Government to inform him and he expressed disgust and disappointment over the ugly incident."
The SA who was accompanied to the scene by 15 Naval officers led by Commander A. Babalola and some soldiers were able to put out the inferno while the Commanding Officer of the Effurun Barracks vowed to investigate the issue thoroughly.
All efforts to speak with the council boss proved abortive as he was said to be engaged somewhere else and could not also be reached on phone.
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