Delta bloodbath: Senate meets service chiefs as troops comb creeks


Service chiefsThe Senate Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force, on Wednesday, held a closed-door meeting with the Service Chiefs over the recent killing of 17 officers and troops of the Nigerian Army in Okuoma community, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.

It was also gathered that troops on Wednesday intensified the manhunt for the killers of the military men.

The four military officers and 13 soldiers were said to have gone to Okuoma community on a peacekeeping mission when they were slain by hoodlums last week Thursday.

The lawmakers’ meeting with the service chiefs, which started at exactly 3:42 pm had in attendance, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher  Musa; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan; and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

The Senate had during its plenary on Tuesday mandated the joint committee to investigate the killing of the military men.

The upper chamber urged the Federal Government to ensure that those responsible for the heinous crime were identified, apprehended, and brought to justice.

The Joint Committee is chaired by Senator Ahmad Lawan, who is also Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence.

Moments before the commencement of the meeting with the Service Chiefs, members of the Joint Committee observed a minute silence in honour of the 17 slain military men.

Speaking on the incident, Senator Lawan, in a speech delivered at the investigative hearing by the Joint Committee, recalled that, “The troops of 181 Amphibious battalion, on Thursday, 14 March, 2024, went on a peace mission to Okuoma Community in Delta State. An incident occurred resulting in the loss of a Commanding Officer, two Majors, a Captain and 12 soldiers during the peace mission.

“The troops on the peace mission to Okuoma community in the Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State were surrounded by some community youths, which resulted in the death of officers and men.

“Acknowledging the gravity of the attack on the military personnel, the Senate at its plenary on Tuesday, 19th March 2024, mandated the Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force to investigate the incident.”

He added, “The Senate also urged the Federal Government to ensure that those responsible for the heinous crime are identified, apprehended and brought to justice.”

Senator Lawan further underscored the need for the Federal Government to prioritise the issue of security, noting that the same take precedence over investment in any other sector.

He described the killing of the 17 soldiers as “barbaric”, and appealed to Nigerians to support the Armed Forces by volunteering information that would lead to the capture and prosecution of those behind various forms of insecurity across the country.

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