Some of the soldiers were tortured before execution in Delta

Reuters reported too that the troops from 181 Amphibious Battalion had responded to the conflict in the Okuoma community when they were killed on Thursday, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau said in a statement.


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“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,” Gusau said.

The chief of defence has directed an immediate investigation and the arrest of those involved, Gusau said.

“So far, a few arrests have been made while steps (are) in place to unravel the motive behind the attack,” he added.

There are frequent clashes, sometimes deadly ones, over land or over compensation for oil spills by energy companies in many Delta state communities.

In his X (formerly Twitter) handle, @ChinasaNworu headlined: Breaking News 22 soldiers, others killed in Delta community.

According to the eyewitness account, ‘‘Pandemonium in the creeks as 22 military men on rescue mission to Okuama community in Ughelli South local government area, Delta State, who were reportedly ambushed and taken unawares by armed men and mercenaries of the community on Wednesday have been confirmed killed.

It would be recalled that, Wednesday this week, the Bomadi Division of the JTF led by Maj. Jaffa embarked on a rescue mission to Okuama community to free a kidnapped youth, Mr Anthony Aboh, an indigene of neighbouring Okoloba community in Bomadi Local Government Area, who was abducted over the lingering land dispute between the two communities.

A civilian source from the military team said, the commander and his men were taken unaware while on their way back to the waterfront after a deadlocked round-table discussion in the Okuama community hall over the kidnapped youth.

The source reiterated, “We were coming back to our boats after the unfruitful discussion to release the kidnapped victim of Okoloba community. Suddenly, there were rains of bullets coming from all directions and some of us managed to escape.

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.

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