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Slain soldiers in Delta were not on peace mission but to deal with community – Journalist alleged

…they killed many in Okuama before militants attacked the soldiers

An investigative journalist known for his reputation of digging out facts on unprecedented occasions has revealed that the Nigerian Army were not on a peace mission to Okuama community in Delta State as claimed by the authorities.

The journalist known by the pseudo name on X (formerly Twitter) as 99% OPPRESSED (@PIDOMNIGERIA) further alleged that the soldiers went to Okuama to deal with the people of the community.

“Nigerian Army @HQNigerianArmy stop pretending and lying to Nigerians just to garner sympathy to justify your actions at Okuama. You were not on a mission to make peace in that community before the attack on your personnel. You went there to deal with the people of the community, after an order from above. But unknown to you, militants from the community were prepared as well. This is not the first time you guys have attacked that community.

“As of this morning, the Nigerian Army has deployed 4 Hilux and trucks from Abuja with soldiers fully armed, heading to Okuama via Nasarawa state for reprisal.

“My advice to you is to stop being biased political tools of politicians in disputes. Secondly, go after those who killed your soldiers.
Innocent people shouldn’t suffer over the actions of a few. R.I.P. to the fallen soldiers. My condolence goes to their families,” the Journalist posted on X.

The Journalist also claimed that the soldiers went to the community to forcefully arrest three High Chiefs, adding that the soldiers opened fire after the community resisted the arrest of their chiefs, injuring over 500 of them, and killing many – including old, women and children.

“Nobody is justifying the death of our able-bodied soldiers, but why not tell Nigerians the truth, rather than use the biased Western media to drive home propaganda and wicked narrative, in order to justify your actions?

“The Nigerian Army claimed that they went to Okuama community for peacekeeping mission. But you wanted to forcefully arrest 3 high chiefs, the community said nope and stood their ground. What did you do next? Your men opened fire on innocent villagers, injuring well over 500 of them, and killing many. Both old, fragile, women and children were amongst the casualties. But nobody is telling their story, or listening to their plight. After attacking first, you all entered your boats and left.

“As you were leaving, you all were ambushed by 9 speedboats filled with militants. They were the ones who killed our gallant soldiers. Not innocent old men and women who can not operate hunter’s guns. People who are already injured, bruised and mourning their loved ones after your 14th March unprovoked attack on them,” the Journalist said in another post.

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The Journalist further alleged that the slain soldiers were not killed in Okuama but inside Forcados River, very far away from the community.

“The Nigerian Army personnel weren’t killed on Okuama soil. They were killed on the open river very far from Okuama, and their bodies were recovered along the Forcados River.

“So why burn houses of innocent villagers in Okuama?

“Why not go after the militants who killed them?

“I was following up on the Okuama story since Friday night, as I watched propaganda fly left right and centre on Saturday. Let me make this known to everyone. Regarding the communal crisis between Okoloba community and Okuama community in Delta State, I am not in support of any of them. I am standing neutral as a journalist to tell my story. All I seek is peace. They should give peace a chance. They are too close as brothers and neighbours to be killing themselves over land,” the Journalist fumed.

CONVERSEER reports that 14 Military Personnel, including Commanding Officer, two Majors, one Captain and 12 Soldiers, were killed on 14 March 2024, following the aftermath of the communal crisis between the Okuama and Okoloba communities, both in Delta State.

Following the incident, the Nigerian Army in a post on X which was later deleted, said, “The Audacity.”

Slain soldiers in Delta were not on peace mission but to deal with community - Journalist alleged

A statement by Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, Acting Director, Defence Information, on Saturday said, “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.”

The statement didn’t touch the ground, the army on Sunday launched a reprisal attack on the community, burning down houses and arresting some persons even as the villagers fled their homes.

Slain soldiers in Delta were not on peace mission but to deal with community - Journalist alleged
Okuama community burnt by soldiers

Meanwhile, a statement by President Bola Tinubu signed by himself on Sunday stated in part: “As the Commander-in-Chief, I join all well-meaning Nigerians and the men and women of our armed forces to mourn and express my profound grief over the needless death of our gallant soldiers.

“I extend my profound condolences to the families of these fallen soldiers, their colleagues and their loved ones. The military high command is already responding to this incident. The cowardly offenders responsible for this heinous crime will not go unpunished.

“This incident, once again, demonstrates the dangers faced by our servicemen and women in the line of duty. I salute their heroism, courage and uncommon grit and patriotism.

“As a nation, we must constantly remember and honour all those who have paid the ultimate price to keep our country safe, strong and united. The officers and men who died in Okuama community have joined the pantheon of great men and women who gave their all, with honour, in the service of our fatherland.

“Members of our armed forces are at the heart and the core of our nationhood. Any attack on them is a direct attack on our nation. We will not accept this wicked act.

“The Defence Headquarters and Chief of Defence Staff have been granted full authority to bring to justice anybody found to have been responsible for this unconscionable crime against the Nigerian people.

“My government will not relent until we achieve peace and tranquillity in every part of Nigeria.”

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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