Delta Killings: Senator Dafinone calls for calm over death of soldiers

The Senator Representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ede Dafinone, has called on all those involved in the ongoing carnage at Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area to stop all hostilities and fighting.

The lawmaker also called on the State and Federal Governments to urgently intervene in the crisis to de-escalate the situation that has reportedly claimed more than 18 lives.

According to reports, the leadership of the Okuama Community had raised an alarm that the military had invaded their community on Thursday, March 14th, 2024, following a land dispute with the neighbouring community of Okoloba in Bomadi Local Government Area which led to the death of three young men, displacement of women and children and burning of houses.

However, in a press statement signed by the Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, the Nigerian Army alleged that a Commanding officer, two Majors, one Captain and 12 other Soldiers, who were on a peace mission in the area had been killed.

But reacting to the report of the death of the soldiers and the youths of the Okuama community, Senator Dafinone described the incident as very unfortunate. 

While sympathizing with the military authorities over losing their men, the lawmaker called on them to observe the military rules of engagement in dealing with the situation. 

He also called on the leaders and the people of Okuama to remain calm, urging the federal and state governments to expedite action on arresting the situation before it degenerates into a humanitarian crisis. 

Senator Dafinone said, “I want to appeal for calm by the warring factions in the unfortunate incident that occurred in Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday and Friday leading to the needless death of about 18 persons including soldiers.

 “The federal government must as a matter of urgency set up a high power independent panel to investigate the remote causes of this crisis, to bring whoever may be involved in the killing of Nigerian civilians and soldiers to book.

 “I wish to appeal to the authorities of the Nigerian army to act discreetly in this situation, that they should not allow their emotions take the better part of their professional judgement by toning down their operations and observing the rules of engagement while dealing with civilians at Okuma. 

“I also wish to call on our people in Okuama to shun any act of violence that could further escalate this crisis, which could have been avoided if both parties allowed reason to prevail.

“The National Emergency Management Agency should also reach out and provide relief materials to the people of Okuama, many of whom have been rendered homeless and are now living in surrounding bushes,” he appealed.

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