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Killing of 16 soldiers: We’ll bring fleeing murderers to justice, Tinubu vows

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.Mourns fallen heroes, orders DHQ to arrest offenders

.As soldiers raze  community over killing

.It’s barbaric, unacceptable – Obi

.Delta Gov reads riot act, says perpetrators must be fished out

 .FG, Delta govt must take decisive action- NIPSS

 .Those behind the act must be brought to justice — Senate

.Falana demands end to reprisal attack

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Cyril Mbah

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has condemned the recent killing of some soldiers in Delta State.

In a statement made available to newsmen , he said ’On Saturday morning, the Nigerian people and I woke up to the dreadful news of the unprovoked killing of our brave military personnel during a rescue mission to Okuama Community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

“The incident occurred on Thursday 14 March, 2024 when our troops, responding to a crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities in Delta State were ambushed. A Commanding Officer, two Majors, one Captain and twelve soldiers sadly lost their lives. One civilian was also killed.

“As the Commander-in-Chief, I join all well-meaning Nigerians and the men and women of our armed forces to mourn and express my profound grief over the needless death of our gallant soldiers.

“I extend my profound condolences to the families of these fallen soldiers, their colleagues and their loved ones. The military high command is already responding to this incident. The cowardly offenders responsible for this heinous crime will not go unpunished.

“This incident, once again, demonstrates the dangers faced by our servicemen and women in the line of duty. I salute their heroism, courage and uncommon grit and patriotism.

“As a nation, we must constantly remember and honour all those who have paid the ultimate price to keep our country safe, strong and united. The officers and men who died in Okuama community have joined the pantheon of great men and women who gave their all, with honour, in the service of our fatherland.

“Members of our armed forces are at the heart and the core of our nationhood.

Any attack on them is a direct attack on our nation. We will not accept this wicked act.

“The Defence Headquarters and Chief of Defence Staff have been granted full authority to bring to justice anybody found to have been responsible for this unconscionable crime against the Nigerian people.

“My government will not relent until we achieve peace and tranquillity in every part of Nigeria.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and keep the members of our armed forces safe”.

Also, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, on Sunday, condemned the recent killing of some soldiers in Delta State.

His reaction comes after a late Saturday report that operatives of the Joint Task Force recovered 15 bodies of soldiers under the supervision of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Jamal Abdussalam, at the Okuama community, Delta State.

In a series of tweets via his X handle, Obi recalled that while people were still recovering from the shock of the death of some policemen, the report of the Army personnel deaths was received.

His tweet read, “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 16 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.”

He labelled the killing as “barbaric and totally 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.”

Obi noted that the cases of kidnappings, killings and other violent crimes have continued to degenerate the security level in the country.

The former Anambra State Governor lamented that in some cases, while “security operatives are making a lot of sacrifices in their line of duty,” they “pay the supreme price.

“We must therefore appreciate and value them by showing empathy towards them and ensuring healthcare for those who are wounded” adding that the government should ensure “adequate compensation and welfare packages for the families of those who die in active service.”

Obi consoled the “families of the security personnel that died,” and encouraged the security formations – the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force, “not to be dispirited by these ugly developments but see it as a challenge to increase their efforts in their duties.

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

“May God grant eternal rest to all the security officers who have lost their lives fighting for the peace and security of our nation. May God grant all of us the fortitude to bear this sad, irreplaceable loss”.

Also, the Governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, has described the gruesome killing of military personnel in Okuama, a community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area as despicable, saying  the government would fish out all those behind this dastardly act.

Alumni of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) described the killing as despicable act, saying both the federal and state governments must make decisive move.

Recall  that 14 lifeless bodies of soldiers killed in Okuama were recovered in the early hours of Saturday by the Joint Task Force under the supervision of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam.

Some of the recovered corpses were said to have been beheaded, while the stomachs and hearts of others were ripped off.

Reacting in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Festus Ahon, Governor Ovorevwori expressed strong disapproval towards the senseless murder of officers and soldiers from the 63 Brigade

He extended his heartfelt condolences to the military and the bereaved families of the fallen officers and soldiers. The governor stressed that such violence was against the values of the people of Delta State.

He said: “The government of Delta State is gravely disturbed by the violence and unprovoked killing of the officers and soldiers, which he described as alien to the culture of Deltans.

“This incident is despicable and not in sync with the culture and tradition of Deltans. It runs contrary to the values and path of peace that the State Government is promoting as I have always emphasized in our MORE agenda to enhance peace and security.

“On behalf of the Government and good people of Delta State, I wish to condole, in particular, the families of the killed gallant officers and soldiers, the Nigerian Army and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in general, over this sad occurrence.

“The State Government shall take all measures necessary to fish out all those behind this dastardly act and ensure they are made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Delta State is governed within the tenets of the rule of law and human decency. Acts such as this incident cannot and will not be tolerated.

 

Those behind Army personnel killing in Delta must be brought to book – Senate

 

Meanwhile, the Senate has condemned the gruesome murder of 16 Army personnel of ‘Operation Delta Safe’ in Okuama community of Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Reacting to the killing of the army personnel during a peace mission between two warring communities, the Senate in a statement on Sunday said that the culprits must be made to face the full consequences of their actions.

In the statement signed by the chairman, Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, Senator Abdulaziz Yar’adua, the Senate noted that the sacrifices made by the Commanding Officer, three officers, and 12 soldiers during the distressing incident shall forever be remembered.

“On behalf of the 10th Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Nigerian Army and officers and men of Operation Delta Safe on the tragic loss of our galant personnel who were mercilessly killed by some youths during a peace mission to Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday 14th March 2024.

“The sacrifices made by the Commanding Officer, 3 officers, and 12 soldiers during this distressing incident shall forever be remembered. Their bravery and commitment exemplify the highest virtue of patriotism, courage, and sacrifice, and their legacy will forever inspire us all.

“I wish to commend the swift response of the Chief of Defense Staff in directing an immediate investigation to apprehend those responsible for this heinous crime. It is crucial that justice is served and those behind this criminal act are brought to account for their actions. The Nigerian Army’s unwavering focus on upholding peace and security in our nation is a testament to the resilience and dedication of our Armed Forces.

“The Senate Committee on the Nigerian Army stands resolutely alongside the Defence Headquarters and the Nigerian Army in seeking justice for the fallen heroes. We shall spare no effort in supporting the necessary investigations and legal processes to ensure that those responsible for this crime face the full consequences of their actions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, the families of the fallen heroes, and the entire Armed Forces as we honour the sacrifice and service of our brave personnel,” the statement read.

“Meanwhile, all citizens and residents of the state are enjoined to remain law- abiding and the State Government shall continue to take all measures to protect lives and property in Delta State.”

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had on Saturday ordered the arrest of some youths in Delta over the killing of a Commanding Officer, two Majors, one Captain and 12 Soldiers.

The Acting Director Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau said the troops were attacked by some community youths and killed on Thursday, 14 March, 2024.

Gusau in a statement said the troops of 181 Amphibious Batallion, Bomadi local government area of Delta State responded to a distress call after the communal crisis between the Okuama and Okoloba communities in Delta State.

His words, “The unfortunate incident occurred when the troops responded to a distress call after the communal crisis between the Okuama and Okoloba communities both in Delta State.

“The reinforcement team led by the Commanding Officer was also attacked, leading to the death of the Commanding Officer, two Majors, one Captain and 12 Soldiers,” he said.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa in response, has directed the immediate investigation and arrest of those involved in the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, the statement added that the ugly occurrence has been reported to the Delta State Government for further action.

He however reiterated that 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,” he said.

In a statement by Alumni NIPSS President, Emmanuel Okafor, the Institute demanded that the perpetrators, including the community leaders must face the law.

The statement read in part, “The Alumni association of the national institute, vehemently condemns the spine-chilling assault on our brave troops of the 181 Amphibious Batallion, Delta State. This is an unforgivable affront to our nations values, therefore our hearts bleed for the families of these fallen heroes and all Nigerians.

“Consequently, this despicable act of barbarism must not be swept under the rug. We demand swift and decisive action from both the federal and state governments.”

Also a Human rights lawyer and Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, described as ‘tragic’, the incident that claimed the lives of the Commanding Officer, two majors, one captain, and twelve soldiers from the 181 Amphibious Battalion.

Adeyanju, who condemned the nefarious act in a statement, he signed and issued to newsmen, also tasked the Nigerian authorities to leave no stone untouched in ensuring that the perpetrators were brought to justice.

Adeyanju said, “It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of soldiers killed in Delta State. The news of the tragic incident that claimed the lives of the Commanding Officer, two majors, one captain, and twelve soldiers from the 181 Amphibious Battalion has left me in shock, disbelief and mourning.

“These brave men and women who protect us daily were on a noble peace mission, selflessly dedicating themselves to the service of our country and striving to bring stability and harmony to our country and the Okuama community in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.

“May the souls of our fallen heroes find eternal peace and rest. Their courage, dedication, and selflessness will forever be etched in our hearts and minds. We will forever be grateful for their service and sacrifice.

“I call on the authorities to leave no stone untouched in ensuring those responsible for this dastardly act are brought to Justice.”

 

“Bring killers of troops in Delta community to justice” – National Institute Alumni charge FG

 

“Perpetrators of Thursday’s killing  of officers and men of the Nigerian Army at Okuama community in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta, must face the full force of the law.

“The despicable act of barbarism must not be swept under the rug,’’ the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI), declared on Sunday in Abuja

“The killing was an unforgivable affront to national values,’’ it added.

Those killed were the battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lt.-Col. AH Ali, two Majors, a Captain, and 12 soldiers.

“AANI stands in solidarity with the military and the families of these heroes who paid the supreme price in quest for peace in Delta,’’ its National President, Amb. Emmanuel Okafor stated.

“We demand swift and decisive action from both the Federal Government and from Delta State government.

“No one who dares to spill the blood of our defenders and attacks Nigeria should escape justice.

“The perpetrators must face swift justice, with no leniency shown to those who dare to spill the blood of our beloved soldiers, for whatever reason,’’ Okafor stated.

The AANI president added that the cowardly attack had dampened national spirits and also threatened future peace efforts, stressing that it had struck at the heart of the nation’s resolve for peace.

He urged the Federal Government to take decisive measures to prevent such atrocities from recurring by ensuring that the culprits, especially the youths involved were swiftly brought to justice.

He stressed that traditional rulers overseeing the tragedy must also face consequences for their negligence.

“AANI notes with admiration that in spite of this cowardly attack, the military remains unwavering in its duty to protect and to serve.

“We commend the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, for his prompt response, directing an immediate investigation.

“We urge the authorities to expedite the process and ensure that all those involved face the full force of the law.

“We implore the Nigerian Armed Forces to stand united and resolute in ensuring that justice prevails, as we stand with you, especially in this difficult time,’’ he added.

Okafor also urged the military and other security agencies not to be demoralised or deterred by the callous act.

He charged them to continue to stand united in ensuring that the supreme sacrifices made by the gallant officers and soldiers were not made in vain.

Okafor also called upon Okuoma community to fully cooperate with security agencies to prevent further tragedies and hand over the perpetrators of the horrific crime

 

Falana demands end to reprisal attack in Delta community

 

Similarly, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Sunday, urged the Federal Government to put an end to the reprisal attacks by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the Okuama community of Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State.

Falana, in a statement on Sunday, urged the military to halt the killings of residents while calling for a full probe of the incident.

The senior advocate had, in a statement earlier released on Saturday night, condemned the brutal killing of the soldiers.

He had also called for the immediate prosecution of the suspects who were arrested for their involvement in the crime.

But on Sunday, Falana said, “Unfortunately, some villages were attacked last night by angry soldiers. After the attack, the villages were set on fire during the nocturnal military invasion.

“Having regard to the destruction of Odi and Zaki Biam over the killing of soldiers, the authorities ought to have taken adequate measures to prevent the attack and burning of the affected villages. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has not issued any statement on the barbaric incident.

“In view of the tragic turn of events, I call on the military authorities to halt the destruction of the properties of innocent people in the warring communities. It ought to be pointed out that collective punishment is a serious offence under domestic and international law.”

Falana continued, “Therefore, the Delta State Government should ensure that the murder suspects and arsonists among the civilians and soldiers are fished out and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other criminal elements in the society.

“Once again, I commiserate with the bereaved families of the slain officers and soldiers. Since they were brutally killed in the course of duty, the Federal Government and the Delta State Government should compensate the dependants of the deceased military officers and soldiers. Compensation should also be extended to the victims of reprisal attacks by angry soldiers.”

 

Soldiers raze Delta community over killing

 

Meanwhile, Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State where 16 soldiers were killed have been razed.

There were strong allegations that some angry soldiers might have carried out the act after their colleagues were killed.

Similarly, manhunt for the killers was 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, Channels Television reported.

Residents of the coastal community were said to have fled to neighboring Ughelli for fear of a reprisal by the soldiers who have been patrolling the creeks.

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