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Army vows to remain in creeks until killers of soldiers are arrested

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Army vows to remain in creeks until killers of soldiers are arrested

The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Nigerian Army /Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force, South-South, Operation Delta State, Maj. Gen. Jamal Abdussalam, has declared that his troops would remain in the creeks of the Niger Delta until the killers of 17 military personnel in Delta State are arrested and the weapons of the killed soldiers recovered.

Abdussalam made the vow at a session with traditional rulers in Asaba on Thursday.

Recall that at least 17 military personnel were killed by irate youths in Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The soldiers were said to be on a peace mission to resolve a communal clash over a land dispute in Bomadi and Okuoma communities.

It was gathered that 15 bodies of the deceased military men were recovered by soldiers of the Joint Task Force under the supervision of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, at the Okuama community.

Some of the recovered corpses had their heads severed off, while the stomachs of others were ripped off with some of the vital organs missing.

At the NDDC jetty in the community, the bodies of the commanding officer and two Majors were seen floating by the river bank as others were separated on land.

The personnel attached to the 181 Amphibious Battalion were responding to a distress call when they were ambushed and killed on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

Many residents of Okuama in the Ughelli South Local Government Area and Okolaba in the Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, fled the communities, as soldiers took over the area and reportedly set some houses ablaze in reaction to the killing of the soldiers.

The neighbouring communities have been engaged in a communal land dispute since January 27, 2024.

Meanwhile, the Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, who addressed the traditional rulers at the State Traditional Rulers’ Council Secretariat in Asaba, cautioned them against shielding suspects involved in the killing of the military personnel

Governor Oborevwori said such killing was alien to Delta State, describing it as barbaric, inhumane and unacceptable, and vowed that those who committed the evil act must be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He said no kingdom should shield the perpetrators of the dastardly act, adding that Delta was governed within the tenets of the rule of law and human decency.

Oborevwori said, “On February 7, we summoned the people of Okoloba and Okuoma communities in Bomadi and Ughelli South Local Government Areas, including the members representing the two constituencies in the State House of Assembly, the council chairmen and their presidents-general, where we advised them that a lot has been happening in their area and they signed a peace accord.

“The killing of these Army officers and soldiers came as a rude shock to us, and when this thing happened, I immediately called the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Army Staff because I was in Abuja. I came back and issued a press statement.

“On Monday, I went to Bomadi to meet with all the security chiefs, where we had our security council meeting and I got briefings from the Brigade Commander. In attendance were the GOC, 6 Division Nigeria Army, Maj Gen Jamil Abdussalam, and the JTF Commander, Rear Admiral John Okeke.

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“After the meeting, I went to Abuja to meet with Mr. President to brief him on what happened. I also went to see the Chief of Army Staff to discuss with him. I also met with the National Security Adviser and the Inspector-General of Police.

“I felt that it is also proper that I brief you people even though you may be aware. Those people who committed that evil act must face the wrath of the law. No kingdom should shield those criminals, because Delta state is governed by the tenets of the law and human decency.”

The governor said the state would not tolerate such killings, adding that “it has never happened in this state; to kill one Lt. Colonel, two Majors, one Captain and 13 soldiers. We need to fish out those involved.”

Warning the monarchs, the governor said, “Do not hide or shield anybody. The Chief of Army Staff and Mr President have assured me that innocent people will not be victimised; unless you connive with the killers of the soldiers.

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