Slain Soldiers: No Going Back Until Perpetrators Are Arrested

The Defence Headquarters in response to the recent tragic incidents in Okuama, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, where 16 soldiers and several civilians lost their lives, has affirmed its commitment to maintaining a strong military presence in the creeks.

The troops are on an intensive manhunt for Endurance Okodeh, also known as Amangben, the prime suspect, along with others implicated in the violence.

Major General Jamal Abdussalam, the General Officer Commanding the 6 Division, Nigerian Army/Land Component Commander of the Joint Task Force, South-South, Operation DELTA SAFE, emphasized the army’s dedication to the mission during a condolence visit by Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The visit took place at the division’s headquarters in Port Harcourt Barracks.

Abdussalam stated that the military would remain in the creeks until they have successfully retrieved all weapons looted by the assailants and apprehended everyone involved in the heinous acts.

He assured that the operations would be conducted with firmness, strength, decisiveness, and professionalism, reflecting the gravity of the situation and the need for justice for the fallen soldiers and civilians.

The incident in Okuama community has triggered a robust response from the Nigerian military, highlighting the challenges in securing volatile regions and the determination of the armed forces to restore peace and order in the affected areas.

Abdussalam, while appreciating the NDDC Managing Director and his team for the visit, reiterated that “no amount of propaganda, arm-twisting, blackmailing, intimidation and false narratives would distract troops from staying on course to achieve their objectives.”

He said, “The mission handed to troops by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, is basically to recover the weapons carted away by the perpetrators of this heinous crime and ensure that all those involved are arrested.

“Troops will continue to be in the creeks until these objectives are achieved.”

The GOC however assured all that “the operations would be conducted in the most professional manner in line with the global best practice of adherence to rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.”

He appealed to people and communities to assist troops regarding the location of the fleeing suspects and the stolen weapons.

He urged the public to avail the Nigeria Army credible intelligence on where to get the criminals and ensure they answer for their crimes.

While calling on people of the Niger Delta region to go about their normal activities, Abdussalam maintained that “troops will not rest until all those involved are tracked down to account for their deeds.”

He reassured all that the operation is being conducted in such a way that, going forward, nobody would contemplate attacking men in uniform.

He also stressed that “false narratives being churned out, and propaganda peddled over this mindless criminality would not deter troops from fishing out the criminals”.

He emphasised that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria is the symbol of our sovereignty”, stressing that “the Commander-in-Chief, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu captured it succinctly when he said an attack on our Armed Forces is an attack on our nation”.

The GOC appreciated the MD and his team for identifying with the NA at this moment of grief saying that “there would not be development without peace and security, thus, the two institutions would continue to work together for the common good of society”.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Ogbuku, earlier while commiserating with the GOC, said that “without peace in the Niger Delta region, there would not be development.”

He averred that the Niger Delta region has been peaceful for some time, owing to the sacrifices of officers and men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria submitting, however, that the sad event that occurred in Okuama has called for concern.

This, according to him, informed the reason he led his management team on a condolence visit to the Division, as they stand in solidarity with the NA over the gruesome murder of officers and soldiers.

Ogbuku said that “this unfortunate incident didn’t define the people of the Niger Delta region” as, according to him, for years now, the people of the region have embraced peace and dialogue.

He further said that no one in the region is in support of this mindless act of criminality because the region has been relatively calm and remains the bedrock of the national economy.

The NDDC boss called on all stakeholders to be calm and support the Nigeria Army to fish out the perpetrators of the act, saying “this is the only way justice would be served, particularly to those who paid the supreme price”.

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