Mayhem and robbery visited the Delta Mall where Shoprite and other shop holdings operate in Effurun, Uvwie local government area, Delta state, escalating into gun battle over the weekend as hoodlums scare residents in the community with sporadic shooting and continued robberies.
Reports indicated that some persons were feared dead, but Delta state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Celestina Kalu, declined knowledge of such yesterday, saying, “Some of the youths went to attack the Ebrumede police station, but the police repelled them. Nobody has been killed.”
Residents around the Effurun Market areas of PTI Road and Jakpa Road where the sporadic shooting and attacks started Saturday evening said the renewed violence in the volatile Uvwie was sparked by alleged arrest of Henry Baro, suspended Uvwie council boss who police accused of sponsoring Friday’s brutality and robbery at the Delta Mall and Sheriff Plaza following his row with two naval ratings.
A community source narrated that, “Some say security people stormed Baro’s house yesterday (Saturday) while others said he submitted himself to the security authorities. Those disturbing the town now are his boys protesting his arrest. And some persons are using that motive to rob people.”
When contacted, both the police, and the army who later moved in to disperse the gunmen, denied taking him in custody, but all efforts to ascertain Baro’s whereabout proved abortive as calls put across to him were all diverted and the text messages not delivered.
DSP Kalu, the Delta PPRO said, “We’ve not arrested him. We are looking for him to come and answer to the case against him.”
A senior army personnel at the 3 Battalion, Effunrun, said, “We didn’t arrest him. We went to Jakpa area this morning where some boys were causing disturbance which we believe has something to do with this Baro issue, but we only went there to dismiss them.”
Uvwie has been on the edge since Friday after a brush between Baro and two naval ratings at the Effurun Roudabout resulted in hoodlums invading, assaulting and robbing shops at the Delta Mall in the guise of protesting the alleged navy attack on the embattled suspended Uvwie council boss.
It could not be ascertained if the military intervention yesterday has completely quelled the tension as several fear stricken residents were already contemplating temporary vacation of their home till the storm is over.