Delta State: Military Continues Demolition in Okuama

According to a community source who spoke on condition of anonymity, soldiers have been actively engaged in the demolition of structures within Okuama, further escalating the already volatile situation

By Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru, Sam Oyadongha, Ochuko Akuopha & Chancel Bomadi

In the wake of last weekend’s tragic incident that claimed the lives of several military personnel in the Okuama community, Delta State, tensions remain high as the military intensifies its presence, with reports of ongoing demolition of houses in the area.

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According to a community source who spoke on condition of anonymity, soldiers have been actively engaged in the demolition of structures within Okuama, further escalating the already volatile situation. 

The source revealed that the military presence in the community has been reinforced, with no signs of withdrawal anytime soon.

In response to the violence, the Nigerian military deployed armoured vehicles to Bomadi, the headquarters of the Bomadi council. 

The move comes amidst calls for justice from various quarters, including President Bola Tinubu, who has urged the military high command to apprehend the perpetrators responsible for the killing of the army officers.

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Mr Peter Obi, condemned the attack, describing it as barbaric and unacceptable. 

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State echoed similar sentiments, denouncing the killings as despicable and contrary to the values of the Delta people.

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Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark, also condemned the act, emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation to ensure accountability. 

Senator Ede Dafinone appealed for a cessation of hostilities, urging all parties involved to prioritize peace for the sake of humanity.

Meanwhile, the Urhobo Media Practitioners Advocacy Group (UMPAG) has called for an independent investigation into the incident and the arrest of the culprits responsible for the violence.

The recent escalation of violence in Okuama stems from a longstanding land dispute between the community and its neighbouring Okoloba community in Bomadi. 

Soldiers from the 222 battalions of the military Joint Task Force (JTF), Bomadi Division, led by Major Jaffa, were ambushed and killed while on a rescue mission to release a hostage, Mr Anthony Aboh, from the Okoloba community.

Subsequent reprisal attacks by the military have led to further casualties and displacement of residents. The prime suspect, a renowned ex-militant leader and his group allegedly hired by the Okuama community, is currently on the run as the military intensifies its efforts to apprehend those responsible for the violence.

The situation has raised concerns about a potential humanitarian crisis, with indigenes, especially women and children, seeking refuge in neighbouring communities in Ughelli South. 

However, officials have remained tight-lipped about the possibility of such a crisis, redirecting inquiries to the state government’s official statement on the matter.

In response to the escalating violence, the military has launched a counteroperation aimed at apprehending the suspects involved in the killings. 

Major General Jamal Abdusalam, the GOC 6 Division, and Rear Admiral John Okeke, the Commander of Operation Delta Safe, are reportedly coordinating the efforts to restore calm to the region.

As the situation in Okuama remains tense, with the military continuing its operations and the hunt for perpetrators ongoing, the need for a peaceful resolution to the underlying disputes has never been more urgent. 

The coming days will be critical in determining the path forward for the affected communities and ensuring that justice is served for the lives lost in this tragic incident.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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