By Emma Amaize
AYAKOROMOR and no fewer than five other neighbouring communities in Burutu and Bomadi Local Government Areas of Delta State, have been hit by acute hunger, following the inability of the villagers to engage in their normal fishing business since December 1 bombardment by the Joint Task Force, JTF, on the Niger Delta.
Thousands of refugees were also understood to be still living in fear, nine days after the attack, despite the assurance of safety and provision of relief materials by the task force and Delta State government.
Investigation revealed that most of the refugees, scattered in Warri, Ogbe-Ijoh, Okwagbe, Gbekebor and Obotebe were afraid to return home because of the horrible ordeals they went through, which compelled them to flee their town, as well as the random shootings in the community by soldiers, both in the day and at night.
It was discovered that residents of neighbouring communities to Ayakoromor, notably; Gbekebor, Obotebe, Okrika, Oyangbene, Akparemogbene, Ekamtagbene and Eseimogbene were also having sleepless nights as a result of the presence of soldiers and their gunboats on the waterways.
Chairman of Gbekebor community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, where some of the victims escaped to for refuge, Mr. Alapala Ebitonmo and a community leader, Mr. Daniel Pereware said, yesterday: “Despite the call to return to their village (Ayakaromor) by government, the anxiety that grips them from the bitter experiences they had, which compelled them to flee their village, coupled with the present sporadic shooting by the army in the village, apparently their safety is not guaranteed, so they could not return to their village.
“A reasonable number of the refugees in Gbekebor town are homeless, no food to eat, no clothes to wear, indeed, the refugees are extremely undergoing terrible hardship. As a result of the careless shooting in Ayakoromor and environs, and on the basis of the nearness of Ayokoromor and Gbekebor communities, all occupational activities are completely impeded. There is a great hunger in the town. All the neighbouring villages are having sleepless nights since the military operation started on December 1,” they said.
Gbekebor leaders appealed to both the federal and state governments to provide relief materials to the victims and possibly build temporary houses to accommodate the refugees in order to assuage their sufferings.