17th January, 2016
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Sequel to the renewed bombings of oil installations in Warri axis of Delta State by militants suspected to be foot soldiers of Government Ekpemukpolo aka Tompolo, soldiers on Saturday night stormed Okpelama community in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State.
Defence Headquarters may have directed the soldiers to go after the economic saboteurs who may have breached their Presidential Amnesty pact they signed with the Federal Government to resume militancy and bombing of oil and gas pipelines in the state a few hours after a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Tompolo, last Thursday.
The latest report is that the soldiers were also keeping surveillance on Kurutie, the hometown of Tompolo and Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom.
Tompolo who is at the centre of the saga has continued to plead his innocence in the attacks, saying he did not carry out any bombing and did not send anybody to destroy oil installations, insisting that his enemies who want President Muhammadu Buhari to go after him are cashing in on his recent frosty relationship with the Federal Government to rope him in as “Enemy of the State” by bombing oil installations to do him in.
Reports emerging from communities said the soldiers, who stormed the community with gunboats at about 10.45 pm on Saturday broke into homes of the villagers, many of whom scampered into the bush on sighting them as they alighted at the jetty front.
An eyewitness said the villagers escaped and have all taken refuge in the forest
He said the villagers saw the soldiers breaking into houses, probably in search of arms and those responsible for the attacks on the pipeline facilities a few days ago.
He said some members of the community were still in the bush up till Sunday morning.
As result of the surprise invasion, Kurutie, Tompolo’s community is virtually a ghost town as the villagers are fleeing in droves to Warri and other neighbouring communities.
No doubt, the latest bombings of national assets with or without the consent of Tompolo will trigger off collateral damage on both the environment of the oil rich communities and the battered economy of the federal government.