Nigerian troops invaded Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South
West Council, Delta State in the early hours of yesterday in a renewed effort to arrest wanted ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
Troops arrived the community at about 2am, went immediately to the residence of the former militant kingpin and surrounded his home, possibly hoping to arrest him.
The ‘Oporoza Guest House’ which many people consider to be Tompolo’s home, appears to be the major target, with a security detail declaring that troops were close to apprehending the ex-militant leader, whom he said they had monitored for months.
It was gathered that the military landed the community’s jetty in a commando style with over five gunboats, harassing residents, some of who were already asleep.
The troops were also out to apprehend some members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a new militant group alleged to have been using Oporoza as their safe haven.
Tompolo, who is being accused of sponsoring the new militant group, has consistently denied his involvement in the group’s activities, especially the destruction oil facilities.
The ex-militant chief has gone underground since he was declared wanted by a Federal High Court in Lagos to answer fraud and money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
An octogenarian and head of Oporoza community, Chief Aititi Mala – alias Burn – was said to have been severely injured when he tried to stop the military operatives from checking his house.
Prominent Ijaw leader and spokesman for the community, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, confirmed the invasion, saying there were reports of sporadic shootings while several people were injured by the military.
A senior military officer, who also confirmed the presence of security operatives in the community, disclosed that Tompolo was recently sighted in the community.