Not less than 27 residential buildings have been razed in the wake of a boundary dispute between two communities Obubu and Oleri in the Udu council area of Delta state.
It was gathered the conflict began last Tuesday afternoon when a real estate developer from the 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 the Obubu community, setting houses on fire over alleged trespass of their land.
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.
“It was after then that a tourist centre came and they (Oleri) gave out 350 acres for the tourist centre, another 50 acres to a Catholic church councillor of Obubu ward, Hon. Oputu Awhotu, confirmed all 27 houses burnt are in the Obubu community, adding the community is still under threat of attack in a conversation with The Nation.
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 through 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.
“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 to the community. Almost all members fled from the community.
“Yesterday, Obubu community went to the king but we did not meet him. We will go again. But I know he is aware of what is happening,” Ahwotu stated.
Efforts to speak with an indigene of the Oleri community, Moses Segba (Esq.), proved futile as of press time.
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”.