Monarch, villagers flee Uzere

30 November 2011, Sweetcrude, UZERE- HUNDREDS of villagers, particularly youths, have fled Uzere community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State following an intensive manhunt by the Joint Task Force, JTF, on Niger-Delta for those who invaded and shut down the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC’s Flow Station in the community on Tuesday.

Also, the traditional ruler of Uzere kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Isaac Udogri 1, whose palace, guest house and wife’s store was razed on Tuesday had fled the community with members of his family to avoid the wrath of his irate subjects.

It was learnt that the community had been practically deserted as the second –in-command to the monarch, the Odiologbo, whose residence was similarly burnt, had also escaped from the community.

On Wednesday, there was palpable tension in the community with fierce-looking soldiers and mobile policemen searching for the youths who stormed Shell’s flow station.

A leader of the community who spoke with this reporter said two indigenes, basically identified as Onwo and Onome, whom were allegedly shot by members of the JTF, had given up the ghost, while the third person was battling with life at an unspecified hospital.

But spokesman of the JTF, Lt. Col Timothy Antigha who confirmed a clash between the youths and soldiers said it was the youths that opened fire at the soldiers. He did not, however, say that soldiers killed any youth.

His words, “As you are already aware, youths of Uzere community in Isoko South staged a violent protest at about 9.30 am this morning (Tuesday). The protesting youths alleged that Shell Petroleum Development Company commenced work at a flow station in their community without signing a MoU with them”.

“JTF troops deployed at Oleh responded to distress calls by surrounded workers at the flow station and were able to secure the facility and restore order. Two youths who fired at JTF troops were apprehended and handed over to the police”.

According to him, “The situation at the moment is calm”.

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