Horror Ss Lt Col, Major, Captain, 12 Soldiers Killed In Delta Community

The Nigerian Army has confirmed the killing of its officers who were on a peacekeeping mission to two warring communities in Delta State.

Those who lost their lives include a Lieutenant Colonel, two Majors, one Captain and 12 soldiers.
The Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, confirmed the incident, yesterday.

The soldiers were on a rescue mission to Okuama community to free a hostage, one Mr. Anthony Aboh, allegedly abducted over the lingering land dispute between Okuama and Okoloba communities when they were ambushed and killed.

Gusau said: “The troops of 181 Amphibious Batallion, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, while on a peace mission to Okuoma community in Bomadi LGA of Delta State, were surrounded by some community youths and killed on Thursday, 14 March 2024.

“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.

Invasion

Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Christopher Musa, has ordered the immediate arrest and investigation of all 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”, the Defence spokesperson stated.

However, following the killing of soldiers and the consequent invasion of the Okuama community in Ughelli South LGA, more dead bodies were said to have been recovered from River Forcados in Burutu LGA.

Findings by Sunday Vanguard revealed that some of the soldiers, including ranking officers were taken hostage and were later killed. In retaliation, the military reportedly invaded and burned down houses in the community.
However, tension was heightened in Bomadi, headquarters of Bomadi council, weekend, when convoys of Military Police, MP, trooped into the JTF command in the early hours of yesterday, with a helicopter hovering around the town.

According to community sources, several bodies were seen floating on River Forcados towards the Ayakoromor community axis in Burutu Local Government Area.

Some of the recovered bodies were brought to Bomadi on speedboat over the weekend with sympathisers weeping at the community waterfront.

Bullets

A security source, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that the Bomadi JTF Commander, Maj. Jaffa and his men were taken unawares while on their way back to the waterfront after a deadlocked round table discussion over the kidnapped youth at Okuama community.

“We were coming back to our boats after the unfruitful discussion to release the kidnapped youth. Suddenly, there were rains of bullets coming from all directions and some of us managed to escape. Many people were killed during the ambush.

“But, the commander and other soldiers were held hostage and taken to an unknown destination towards the creek opposite the community”, he said.

In his reaction, the Head of Personnel Management, Bomadi LGA, who is at the helm of affairs of the council, Dr Ighomrore Hope, said: “My counterpart in Ughelli South and I went to Asaba when we heard of the first hostage-taking. We reported the matter to government office in charge of the issue headed by one Chief Uzor. But we were told there was an already signed peace pact between the two communities.

“What is happening now is really beyond me and I don’t know how to describe those behind this gruesome killing of people. I want to appreciate the effort of the security forces in Bomadi for the endless efforts made to curb the crisis between these two communities before this unwarranted incident”, he said.

But the Chairman of Okoloba community, Mr Clement Koki, said no Ijaw community killed any soldier. “I want to say that no Ijaw community killed any soldier as I have just read on the internet. The military knows who ambushed and killed their men and they have reacted accordingly.

“We have also found the lifeless body of Mr Anthony Aboh floating on River Forcados, and like other victims, he was blindfolded with hands tied behind his back”.

Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the President-General of Okuama community, Mr Akata, were futile as he responded with a text, “Just a moment, I will be right there”. Also, the mobile phone of the Chairman of Okuama, Mr Vote, was switched off at the time of filing this report.

Prosecute

Reacting to the incident, a human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, called on federal government to isolate and prosecute the murders of the soldiers without delay.

Falana, who said this in a statement, urged Delta State government to assist in identifying the suspects to ensure they are brought to book.

His words: “We join the members of civilised humanity in condemning the brutality meted out to the military officers and soldiers as they were deployed for a peacekeeping mission to resolve the crisis in two warring communities in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta state. We are, however, pleased to note that the military remains focused and committed to its mandate of maintaining peace and security in the country.

“Having regard to the massacre of innocent people when the military invaded Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki Biam in Benue State in similar circumstances, we commend the military authorities for resisting the temptation to subject the two warring communities to a reprisal attack. By all means, the army should avoid a repeat of the history of having multiple tragedies.

”We have confirmed that in line with the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gwabim Musa, some of the gunmen involved in the heinous crime have been arrested. The Delta State Government, the respective local governments, and the leaders of two warring communities should assist the police in identifying and isolating the remaining reckless murderers and unravel the motive behind the heinous crime.

“While we commiserate with the Nigerian Army and the bereaved families of the slain military officers and soldiers, we call on the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into the case with a view to prosecuting the suspects without any delay.’’

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