Business Gone sour:The changing story of the killings of soldiers in Delta state

The background


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The Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, confirmed the killing of the military personnel on Saturday.

He 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, March 14, 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 deaths of the commanding officer, two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers. 

“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 being taken to unravel the motive behind the attack.”

The turning point

Many people were killed during the ambush, including a former honourable member from Okoloba community, who reported the matter to the JTF. “But, the commander and other officers were held hostage and taken to an unknown destination towards the creek opposite the community”, he said.

The source revealed that, twenty-two military men had been confirmed dead at Okuama community and among them are one Lt. Colonel, 2 majors, one Captain and 18 soldiers. Meanwhile, the lifeless body of the kidnapped youth, Mr Anthony Aboh, had been recovered floating on River Forcados.

Another source from Okoloba community said, “We found the lifeless body of Mr Anthony Aboh floating on River Forcados near Ayakoromo community, and like other victims, he was blindfolded with hands tied behind his back.”

Meanwhile, the entire communities in the Bomadi and Ughelli South local government areas were cordoned off by troops of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, who also oversees the 63 brigade in Asaba.

The neighbouring communities have been engaged in a communal land dispute since January 27, 2024 when some youths from Okoloba were said to have ambushed and killed three Okuama youths, Igho Meshack, Godspower Awusa and Okiemute Agbabuleke, over an age-long land dispute in the area as they were returning from Okwagbe.

The corpses of the deceased were said to have been hidden by the assailants.

the abuse of corpses in Ijaw culture signifies that they deceased was a criminal

Two days ago, Soldiers of the Nigerian Army came to Okuama, an Urhobo riverine community in Ughelli south LGA of Delta requesting to see the Community shrine and their Chief priest. Two people, an advanced man and a boy of 15 years approached them to ask what could be…

Issue. The village has been having communal issues with Okoloba, an Ijaw community in Bomadi LGA, On approaching the Soldiers to seek answers, the soldiers shot them unprovoked, caused chaos and left. The news got to the community and there was rage everywhere.

The youths organised themselves for a counter attack on the soldiers, killed 12 of them on the same night. This morning Soldiers entered the community in large numbers and started burning houses in the community. As I type this, Okuama is on fire. The whole village is now empty.

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