BY EMMA AMAIZE
WARRI— SUSPECTED oil thieves, Sunday night, allegedly shot dead a soldier and confiscated his rifle following a disagreement over protection fee in a riverine community in Delta State.
The incident occurred at Ubakporo, near the open river, a boundary town between Warri South-West Local Government Area and Warri North Local Government Area.
Two youths, Kpesimo (boat driver) and Taye from Abigborodo community, who went on the unauthorized mission with the soldier reportedly escaped with injury. Kpesimo jumped into the river, while Taye, shot in the buttocks ran into the bush.
As at 12.30 pm, yesterday, armed military personnel were reported to be moving with a tugboat in search of the soldier in the BeninRiver.
Spokesman of the Joint Task Force on Niger-Delta, Lt. Col Onyema Nwachukwu, neither responded to the call nor text message to his phone, but the Commanding Officer of the military Battalion in Koko, Colonel A.Okoye, replied that he was in a meeting and would call back later.
Vanguard gathered that payment of protection fee by oil bunkerers was not new in the state, but last Sunday’s visit by the soldier went awry because oil thieves refused to meet his supposedly high demand.
A source said Kpesimo and Taye returned to Abigborodo, Monday morning, to tell the story of what happened to them and the soldier.
A member of the Delta Waterways Security Committee, DWSC, Comrade Omolubi Newuwumi, told Vanguard that he got a report of the incident and was yet to ascertain what happened.
He, however, said he was surprised that only a soldier went for patrol and urged military authorities to deploy sufficient soldiers at all times to perform lawful operations to avoid repulsive occurrences.
Vanguard was told that oil bunkerers and some fraudulent soldiers had been working together in the illegal bunkering business for some years without trouble and that the recent incident, involving the killing of a soldier was an anti-climax.