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Okuama Killings: Defence HQ announces 8 alleged perpetrators wanted for murder of 17 soldiers

Photo: Defence HQ

*The Defence Headquarters assures Nigerians that the heinous crime committed in Okuama community, in Delta State, will not deter troops from restoring peace across the country, vowing to track down the suspected perpetrators and bring them to justice

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has declared eight persons wanted over their roles in the recent killing of 17 military personnel in Okuama community, in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

ConsumerConnect reports the Nigerian Military announced and released the list of the eight suspected persons at a briefing Thursday, March 28, 2024, in Abuja, FCT.

The persons declared wanted are Prof. Ekpekpo Arthur, Andaowei Dennis Bakriri, Akevwru Daniel Omotegbo (Aka Amagben), Akata Malawa David, Sinclear Oliki, Clement Ikolo Oghenerukeywe, Reuben Baru, and Igoli Ebi.

The Defence Headquarters establishment released the list of suspects hours after the Military authorities buried the 17 slain soldiers in a ceremony Wednesday, in Abuja.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, attended the event, where he delivered an address along with State Governors, Federal lawmakers, and other dignitaries.

Earlier in his address, President Tinubu pledged the support of the Federal Government to the families of the victims, announcing scholarships for children of the slain soldiers, including those in the womb.

The Nigerian leader also conferred post-humous National Honours on the fallen heroes.

The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces stated: “They have all been awarded now a posthumous national honour. The four gallant officers have been accorded the awards of the Members of the Order of Nigeria (MON).

“The 13 courageous soldiers who also lost their lives have been awarded the Officers of the Federal Republic medals.”

Also speaking at the media briefing after the burial in Abuja, Major General Edward Buba, Director of Defence Media Operations, urged Nigerians, especially residents of Delta State, and adjoining states to assist the Military with credible information that would lead to the arrest of eight persons allegedly responsible for the killing of 17 Officers and soldiers, while on a peace mission in Okuama community, in the South-South state.

General Buba also emphasised the Nigerian  Military is determined to hunt down the perpetrators of the reprehensible act in Delta State.

The Director of Defence Media Operations reaffirmed its commitment to rescuing all kidnapped and abducted victims across the West African country.

We’ll hunt down the perpetrators’ -Army Chief

Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) also assured the families of the fallen heroes of support.

The COAS said: “The Okuama killing has added to the care of the Nigerian Army and by extension, the Nigerian State, 10 widows, three of whom are four, five and eight months pregnant, 21 orphans, and many other dependents which include parents.

“While commiserating with the families of these gallant soldiers, I assure them that the Nigerian Army and the good people of this country will not leave them in the cold.”

Despite the ‘demoralising’ incident, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa also said it would not deter troops from restoring peace across the country, vowing to hunt down the perpetrators.

Lagbaja further stated: “To the perpetrators of this violence, who seek to sow divisions among our people, take this from me – our resolve will not wither, we will hunt you down, we will bring you to justice and we will restore peace and security in every nook and cranny of our dear nation.

“Your evil actions may cause pain and suffering but they will never extinguish the spirit of unity and resilience that burns within us.”

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