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BREAKING NEWS: Killing of soldiers: Army tracks militant leader to Bayelsa, seizes Delta community chair

SOLDIERS have traced the militant leader allegedly behind last Thursday’s killing of 16 soldiers at Okuama Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State, to the riverine Igbomoturu community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, where they killed some youths, who resisted their incursion, and razed some houses belonging to militants....CONTINUE.THE.FULL.READING OF THE ARTICLE>>>

The soldiers, who arrived in seven gunboats and a passport boat at about 8.00 am on Sunday, cordoned off the community, forcing villagers to scamper for safety into the bush.

Troops also swooped on the Akugbene community in Bomadi Local Government Area, to arrest perpetrators alleged to have fled to the community.

The soldiers brought the Akugbene community chairman and many others to Bomadi, headquarters of the council area over allegations that they harbored the fleeing chairman of Okuama community and other suspects.

However, the Governor of Delta State, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Monday, visited the 181 Amphibious Battalion of the Nigerian military at Bomadi.

Oborevwori’s visit brought a heavy security presence in the riverside town. From the early hours of the day, combined security forces were stationed armored vehicles at strategic locations, while a helicopter hovered around.

The governor headed straight to the military base at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC Road, in Bomadi where he held a closed-door meeting that lasted over an hour with the army authority

Findings revealed that the governor’s visit was in connection with last week’s killing of soldiers and the consequent razing of the Okuama community.

Meanwhile, the Member representing Ughelli North, Ughelli South, and Udu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Francis Ejiroghene Waive has called for a ceasefire in the ongoing siege by the military to the Okuama community in Delta State, saying that razing the community was not the solution to the killing of 16 soldiers.

Waive, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, in a statement, yesterday, condemned the killings in the Okuama community, Ewu Clan in Ughelli South local government area, a part of his constituency, and called for peace and order.

His words: “I am at a loss how a community of only a few hundred inhabitants can inflict this level of damage on our military. I worry if there are no fifth columnists and other vested interests at play, however, I believe a thorough, unbiased, and professional investigation will unveil this mystery.”

“I received with utter shock news of the killings in the Okuama Community of Ewu Clan in Ughelli South LGA (a part of my constituency). I must begin by calling on all parties in the dispute to cease fire and allow peace to reign.

“I condemn in its entirety the taking of human life and console with families and institutions affected. We simply cannot return to the Old Stone Age. I am appalled at the reported killing of officers and men of our armed forces and demand a full-scale unbiased investigation to ascertain the real culprits.

“There is no need to accuse and counter-accuse one another, or violently label anyone until reliable investigation with proof, fish out the killers to face justice. In this nation, we hold our armed forces in the highest esteem.

“It is not an acceptable norm to willfully attack and kill our good officers and men on patriotic duty to protect and defend our territorial integrity and collective peace and security.

“During the years, these avoidable attacks have lingered, Okuama community has always been the theater of the fighting, suggesting that they are the ones being attacked. Had they nipped these attacks been nipped in the bud, as they ought to, we would not come to this edge of the precipice.

“As sad and painful as it is, this is, however, a moment to reflect as true patriots and our brothers’ keepers to put a stop to these bloody attacks that have become incessant.

“Reports have it that the bodies of our fallen officers and men of the military were found in the community and on the Forcados River. There is a need to unveil the place of their killing and the actual killers. Whoever did this must be found, and punished according to law.

The burning down of Okuama community is not a solution to the problems at hand. I call on the military to exercise maximum restraint in their response and abide by internationally accepted protocols in the face of this provocation.

“I call on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately set up modalities to assist those displaced at this difficult time.

“We must all realize that land belongs to God, we met it here and will definitely leave it when we exit this world. So too is human life, nobody has the right to take the life of another.

“I call on our beloved people of Okuama community to calm down and ensure they allow peace to reign. I also call on our dear people who are their neighbors to do the same.

“The military authorities, the state government, and the communities should cooperate in the investigations and find lasting solutions to this crisis according to law and the tenets of good conscience.”

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Baba Voss

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