Delta community set ablaze after killing of soldiers

THE Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta state where sixteen soldiers were killed have been razed.

Residents of the state, including former governor of the state, James Ibori, who confirmed this development, shared the video of the arson on Saturday, March 16. 

There are speculations that some angry soldiers may have perpetrated the act after their colleagues were killed but no group has taken responsibility for the incident. 


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Meanwhile, a manhunt for the killers is still ongoing, and some arrests have also been made by the soldiers led by the General Officer Commanding 6 division Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam.

Residents of the community are said to have fled to neighbouring Ughelli for fear of reprisal by the soldiers who have been on patrol.

The ICIR had earlier reported that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), said 15 military personnel were killed during a communal clash in Delta State.

A statement on Saturday, March 16, by the Director of defence Information, Tukur Gusau, a Brigadier General, listed the personnel to include two Majors, one Captain, and 12 soldiers.

The officers were said to have been killed by some youths while the troops were on a peace mission to the Okuoma community in Bomadi Local Government Area (LGA).

According to reports, Okuoma and Okoloba communities had on January 27, 2024, locked horns, leading to the death of about three persons, with the recent bloody clash, on Thursday, March 14, left many residents homeless and injured.

The defence spokesman said the incident has been reported to the Delta State Government, adding that the CDS has also directed that the culprits be unmasked.

According to him, some suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

He also reiterated the commitment of the military to its mandate of maintaining peace and security in various parts of the country.

“The Chief of Defence Staff ( CDS), General Christopher Gwabin Musa, has directed the immediate investigation and arrest of those involved in the heinous crime. The occurrence has been reported to the Delta State Government.

“However, the military remains focused and committed to its mandate of maintaining peace and security in the country. So far, a few arrests have been made while steps are in place to unravel the motive behind the attack.”

Reactions

Meanwhile, some influential public figures have sympathised with the Nigerian Army over the killing of the soldiers.

They described the actions of the assailants as barbaric and called for their arrest and prosecution.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi while reacting to the development on X expressed his condolence to the families of the late soldiers and urged the government to compensate the families.

Part of his post reads, “Just last week, several policemen were reportedly killed while on duty in Delta State. We were still recovering from the shock over such a sad occurrence when yesterday, we were besieged with the gory reports of the killing of 22 officers and men of the Nigerian Army, also in Delta State.

“In both sad incidents, the dead security personnel were on active duties of securing and keeping peace within our communities, state and country before their unfortunate end, even by the people they were trying to help.






     

     

    “This killing is barbaric and unacceptable and should not be tolerated by Nigerians and any sane society. For a nation already combatting a high level of insecurity, the killing of our security personnel who put their lives on the line for the security of the nation will be too much of a burden to bear. These sad occurrences and many cases of killing, kidnappings and violent crimes around the country, have continued to fuel very deep concerns over the security of the nation.

    Obi urged the government and the security agencies to leave no stone unturned in investigating, arresting and prosecuting those behind these ugly acts.

    On the same vein, former lawmaker, Shehu Sani urged the Nigerian army to fish out the perpetrators and punish them according to the law

    “The Military should go specifically after those who perpetrated the heinous acts in the Delta Community. But that is what we are saying in GAZA.”

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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