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Delta communal crisis worsens, 27 houses razed, several people injured

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The crisis between two communities, Obubu and Oleri in Udu council area of Delta state escalated at the weekend with no less than 27 residential buildings razed to the ground and scores of people injured.

It was gathered the conflict began last Tuesday afternoon when a real estate developer from Obubu community allegedly trespassed a land belonging to neighbouring Oleri.

According to reports, some angry indigenes of Oleri allegedly stormed the land for development, forcing the equipment away from the location and further invaded Obubu community, setting houses on fire over alleged trespass of their land.

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Indigenes of Obubu, including women and children, were said to have scampered for safety, seeking refuge in other neighbouring communities to avoid been caught up in the onslaught.

Though details of the incident were not clear as of press time, it was gathered that warriors from Obubu made attempt to retaliate the attack the following day but were repelled by Oleri youths.

Although no death was recorded, the clash reportedly left several persons from the two communities with varying degrees of wounds.

A source,who spoke in confidence, said in 2001, the Ovie of Udu kingdom and people from both communities sat and resolved the matter by sharing the disputed lands for both communities.

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Councillor of Obubu ward, Hon. Oputu Awhotu, confirmed all 27 houses burnt are in Obubu community, adding the community is still under threat of attack.

He said a visit to the land in question showed it is a portion that has never been in dispute between the communities.

He explained though both communities have had boundary disputes in time past, some of them were “settled out of court and others in favour of the Obubu community”.

“The place they took the bulldozer to has never been in dispute between Obubu and Oleri communities. So these guys attacked Obubu and said the machine must not work.

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“Nobody in Obubu had a dispute with the Oleri community, so they just attacked, shooting anyhow and burning houses. Either 27 or 28 houses were burnt.

“The current situation is we are still facing threats of their attack. The council called both communities over the matter, they came for inspection too. But there is still a threat in the community. Almost all members fled from the community.

Operatives of Delta Police Command and soldiers were reportedly drafted to the area to stem further hostilities.

The soldiers were said to have occupied the land in dispute to avert further crisis from either side.

Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, confirmed the incident, stating that only 17 houses were burnt.

Though he could not give an update on the current situation, the PPRO assured that “sanity has been restored to the area”.

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