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Gov. Oborevwori warns monarchs against shielding suspects involved in killing of soldiers, as Okuama women, children flee into forests

Gov. Oborevwori warns monarchs against shielding suspects involved in killing of soldiers, as Okuama women, children flee into forests


The Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, on Thursday, cautioned traditional rulers in the state against shielding suspects involved in the killing of 17 military personnel in Okuama Community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Oborevwori gave the warning when he addressed traditional rulers on the unfortunate incident at the State Traditional Rulers’ Council Secretariat in Asaba.


This was as the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Nigerian Army/Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force, South-South, Operation Delta State, Maj. Gen. Jamal Abdussalam, declared that his troops would remain in the creeks until the suspects were arrested and the weapons of the killed soldiers were recovered.

At least 17 military personnel were killed by irate youths during a communal clash over a land dispute in Bomadi and Okuoma communities in Delta state.

The personnel attached to the 181 Amphibious Battalion were responding to a distress call when they were ambushed and killed on Thursday, March 14, 2024.


Many residents of Okuama in the Ughelli South Local Government Area and Okolaba in the Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, fled the communities, as soldiers took over the area and reportedly set some houses ablaze in reaction to the killing of the soldiers.

It was reported that 15 bodies of the deceased military men were recovered by soldiers of the Joint Task Force under the supervision of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, at the Okuama community.

Some of the recovered corpses had their heads severed off, while the stomachs of others were ripped off with some of the vital organs missing.

At the NDDC jetty in the community, the bodies of the commanding officer and two Majors were seen floating by the river bank as others were separated on land.


The neighbouring communities have been engaged in a communal land dispute since January 27, 2024.

Governor Oborevwori, while addressing monarch on Thursday, said such killing was alien to Delta State, describing it as barbaric, inhumane and unacceptable, and vowed that those who committed the evil act must be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He said no kingdom should shield the perpetrators of the dastardly act, adding that Delta was governed within the tenets of the rule of law and human decency.


Oborevwori said, “On February 7, we summoned the people of Okoloba and Okuoma communities in Bomadi and Ughelli South Local Government Areas, including the members representing the two constituencies in the State House of Assembly, the council chairmen and their presidents-general, where we advised them that a lot has been happening in their area and they signed a peace accord.

“The killing of these Army officers and soldiers came as a rude shock to us, and when this thing happened, I immediately called the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Army Staff because I was in Abuja. I came back and issued a press statement.

“On Monday, I went to Bomadi to meet with all the security chiefs, where we had our security council meeting and I got briefings from the Brigade Commander. In attendance were the GOC, 6 Division Nigeria Army, Maj Gen Jamil Abdussalam, and the JTF Commander, Rear Admiral John Okeke.

“After the meeting, I went to Abuja to meet with Mr. President to brief him on what happened. I also went to see the Chief of Army Staff to discuss with him. I also met with the National Security Adviser and the Inspector-General of Police.

“I felt that it is also proper that I brief you people even though you may be aware. Those people who committed that evil act must face the wrath of the law. No kingdom should shield those criminals, because Delta state is governed by the tenets of the law and human decency.”

The governor said the state would not tolerate such killings, adding that “it has never happened in this state; to kill one Lt. Colonel, two Majors, one Captain and 13 soldiers. We need to fish out those involved.”

Warning the monarchs, the governor said, “Do not hide or shield anybody. The Chief of Army Staff and Mr President have assured me that innocent people will not be victimised; unless you connive with the killers of the soldiers.

Okuama women, children trapped in forests for 6 days

Hundreds of women and children of Okuama community, Ewu Kingdom, in Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State, who fled for dear lives when troops of the Nigerian Army invaded the community over the killing of 17 soldiers last Friday have been stranded for six days without food in the forests.

In the coastal town of Igbomotoru in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, the siege laid by troops for the manhunt for a militant leader suspected to have masterminded the killings, is pushing the community towards starvation that could trigger a humanitarian crisis if it persists.

Days ago, Okuama women cried out that they fled into the forests when soldiers allegedly opened fire on villagers in the town hall after the community refused their attempt to take away the community leaders.

As of yesterday, Okuama was out of bounds as only the military could go in and out of the town as the place is deserted.

Even the state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, confirmed he could not visit the place because of the situation.

Vanguard learned that the neighboring communities to Okuama refused to take in fleeing residents from Okuama as refugees in their homelands because of fear of persecution by soldiers who come around searching for perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Because of how they escaped into the forests, the women could not take food items with them, and haven’t been able to return to the community as soldiers have taken over the town.

One indigene of a neighbouring community in Ewu Kingdom said the situation of the victims of the military onslaught at Okuama is pitiable.

“Hunger is taking a toll on them, especially the children they are carrying. This is a humanitarian crisis, and the government has to open a refugee camp for these people and provide them with food.

“Soldiers molest innocent people in neighbouring communities of Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area. As I am speaking with you, soldiers are still at Orere community in Ewu kingdom in search of the perpetrators, molesting innocent people.

“The fact is that neighboring communities in the Ewu Kingdom are not receiving fleeing indigenes of Okuama who are mostly women and children, for fear of harassment and molestation by the military.

“As we speak, neighboring communities are living in fear because the military is using drones to watch over all communities,’’ the local said.

A resident of Orere community said people in neighbouring communities are having sleepless nights over the presence of soldiers in their domain.

“We are having sleepless nights over what happened at Okuama because the military is after the perpetrators fleeing from the scene of the incident. To be candid, nobody is happy over what happened to the soldiers at Okuama.

“But, the issue has degenerated, and we are all affected. They would come to your community, brutalizing innocent people.

“I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government to consider setting up refugee camps for women and children displaced from Okuama community, who nobody wants to accommodate because of fear of the rampaging soldiers in neighbouring communities.

“This is a clarion call on the Federal Government to save these victims. The government should set up internally displaced persons, IDP, camps to accommodate these vulnerable victims so they can be identified and avoid the harassment of neighbouring communities.

“I want to conclude by saying that nobody supports the killing of soldiers at Okuama, and the Federal Government should do something to save these innocent victims.”



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