Four children, including a one-year-old baby, lost their lives while 40 houses at Ebeberegbene community in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State were burnt down when some members of the Joint Task Force, JTF, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, attacked and razed illegal oil refining factories, in the community on Wednesday.
Sources disclosed that the soldiers arrived the community at 6.30 am, putting fire on houses in a bid to raze down the three local illegal refineries that were located near the community.
Chairman of the community, Mr. Pius Oruma, who confirmed the attack, said, “Over 40 houses were burnt.”
Another community leader, Mallam Yusuf Eregbene, said: “Over four people were feared dead while thousands fled into the bush for safety, as the soldiers prevented people from carrying their belongings…”
The Mallam noted that the community was not aware of the existence of the illegal oil refineries that soldiers came to destroy, saying: “If we were aware, we would have arrested the owners. The occupations of our people are fishing and farming…It was last two years that the community stopped this local refinery business in our territory. Since then, it was free from this illegal work because we have a law that when you are caught, you will pay a fine of N50, 000.This led to the stoppage of the business because the refineries are not good for the health of our people.”