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Okuama Killings: “They Know What Is Going On” – Military Accuses Delta Monarchs

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Christopher Musa, has said monarchs in Okuama and other neighbouring communities in Delta are complicit in the murder of 17 Nigerian Army personnel in the state.

Suspected residents of the Okuama Community, on 14 March, ambushed and murdered the Commanding Officer of 181 Army Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain and 13 soldiers.

The troops were attacked while responding to a distress call arising from a clash between Okuama and Okoloba communities in the South-southern state.

In response, the Defence Headquarters, on Thursday, declared eight suspects wanted over the murder of the military personnel, including the traditional ruler of Ewu Kingdom in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, Clement Ikolo.

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Mr Ikolo has since surrendered himself to the police in the state, from where he was whisked away to the Nigerian army Headquarters in Abuja for questioning.

Meanwhile, members of the Traditional Rulers Council of Chiefs in Ewu-Urhobo, Delta State, in a statement on Saturday, called for the immediate release of Ikolo.

The monarchs argued that they and their detained colleague were not connected to the communal crisis that led to the murder of the 17 soldiers.

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Reacting to the monarchs’ stance when he appeared on Arise TV, the CDS insisted that the monarchs from the Urhobo tribe within the warring communities could not deny involvement in the murder of the soldiers.

His words: “I have heard the Urhobo leaders talking. I have very serious respect for elders. But I would also like elders to speak from a position of strength.

“They (Urhobo monarchs) cannot say that they do not know what is going on there. I am sure that you know that since they murdered the soldiers, there have been a lot of human sacrifices ongoing in those areas, and it was just part of them showing a way of saying they have strength, and that was why they were able to kill the soldiers.

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“We know that a lot of people knew what was going on and kept quiet, and that makes them complicit. Maybe he did not take part directly, but he will not tell us he does not have the knowledge or understanding of what was going on.

“So, those communities know these criminals. Some of them benefit from this act of criminality. But investigations will unravel most of these things.”

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