Following a massive hunt by security operatives, members of Egbema Radical Group, ERG, who are mostly hoodlums and ex-militants, have fled their locations in the Benin River after killing about 12 Itsekiri persons and setting three communities in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State on fire, in the last three days.
The group whose violence was said to be protest against injustice and political marginalization of Ijaw people in Warri North, had been denounced by most Ijaw leaders in the area, who frowned at the violent disposition of the so-called agitators.
The terrorists had threatened to eliminate some high-ranking Egbema leaders, including Chief E.E Ebimami, two top ex-militant chiefs, “Gen” Ezekiel Akpasubowei and “Gen” Aroni Oputu, Chuks Wowei, Igwe of Niger-Delta, Wilfred Elebiri and Ebipade Kari within one week for allegedly betraying their cause, but they have now gone into hiding with the massive manhunt for them.
Speaking on the hunt for the hoodlums, Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, said “the police and army (JTF), in a joint operation, are trailing them. Their identities have been exposed, we are on their trail, if they escape now, we will catch them later and they will be prosecuted.”
“You cannot carry arms against the nation, no government will tolerate that, we have made arrangement, both the military and police have been deployed to the creeks with gunboats in search of them.”
“Any act of illegality will be dealt with and I am happy that both the leaders of the Ijaw and Itsekiri in the local government are united in the bid to fish out the miscreants. If they are talking about election, it is not time for election, so why are they fighting, why not allow election to hold since it is democracy and let the people decide,” he said.
Speaking further on the threat by the hoodlums to kill the Egbema-Ijaw leaders alleged to be working with the state government to unmask them, Aduba said he had not been notified, but assured police would provide security for any person that was being intimidated.
“There is massive deployment to the area, we are pursuing them, I only know about five casualties at the moment,” he said.