Palpable tension has engulfed Ogbe-Ijoh and Aladja communities in Warri Southwest and Udu council areas of Delta State following the death of a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Sylvester Yerinbide on Saturday.
The pastor who hails from Ogbe-Ijoh community was reportedly attacked on Friday night by yet-to-be identified assailants while on his way for a vigil in neighbouring Aladja community.
According to sources, he was discovered by some Ogbe-Ijoh motorcyclists, who rushed him to a hospital in the community for treatment.
However, his health was said to have deteriorated, leading to his referral to another hospital in Warri where he eventually passed on.
A statement issued by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom, claimed the assailants were from Aladja community as the victim recalled that his attackers spoke “Urhobo dialect” on his death bed.
The statement, which was signed by the IYC chairman, Victor Akemotubo, called on the “leadership of Aladja community to fish out these criminals for them to face the wrath of the law.
He said “Equally so, we call on the Delta State Government led by Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and security agencies to investigate and bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.
“Our people have been victims of these quiet perpetual attacks. Either buildings in Ogbe-Ijoh are set ablaze or our people are attacked,” parts of the statement read.
Warning that their peaceful nature should not be taken for cowardice, it added “we will do everything to resist oppression and protect our people.”
It further advised Ijaw natives against passing through Aladja community until further notice.
Reacting to the incident, President of Aladja community, Elder Otto Ogbiruveta, assured that the perpetrators were not from Aladja, noting that internal investigation to unravel those involved, was ongoing.
Condemning the act, he assured that if locals are found culpable, they will not be covered, as a lot of efforts have been sacrificed in the past two years to maintain peace between the communities.
“On behalf of the people of Aladja community, I condemn the murder of that our brother, a pastor. Aladja community does not have a hand in it. And at the moment we don’t know those who carried out that act,” Ogbiruveta stated.
It was gathered that boys suspected to be Ogbe-Ijoh indigenes tried to avenge the cleric’s death by making moves on an Aladja native who was later rescued by security team of Operation Delta Hawk.
The communities have been known for counterattacks, which has lead to several killings over an age-long land dispute.
They, however, reached a peace accord brokered by the Delta State Government about two years ago.