Okuama killing: Prof, 7 others declared wanted!

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*Military declares Professor, woman, 6 others wanted over killing of 17 soldiers in Delta

*Urges elders, community leaders to assist expose wanted persons

*Says citizens are its first line of intelligence and must rise to the occasion

*Vows that troops would continue with efforts until culprits are found, arrested, tried

By Emmanuel Obisue

Nigeria’s Military has released a banner of eight persons including a professor, wanted over the gruesome killing of 17 soldiers on March 14, in Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Nigerian Pilot had reported that the slain soldiers which also included high ranking officers were killed while on a failed peace mission in the community over land dispute.

In a statement issued on Thursday by Major General Edward Buba, Director of Defence Media Operations, the military high command declared: Prof. Ekpekpo Arthur, Andaowei Dennis Bakriri, Akevwru Daniel Omotegbo (a.k.a Amagben), Akata Malawa David, Sinclear Oliki, Clement Ikolo Oghenerukeywe, Reuben Baru and Igoli Ebi wanted.

“We must never allow the incident that occurred in Delta State that led to the killing of 17 soldiers that were buried on 27 March 2024 to ever happen again. The armed forces are a force for stability that employs both kinetic and non kinetic measures to achieve the desired end state,” Buba stated.

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters stressed that prior to the ugly incident; the military had constructed several civic projects in Delta State as a sign of good will.

“For instance, the construction of Multipurpose Hall and Borehole Projects in Patani LGA and Medical Outreach at Aladja Community in Udu LGA all in Delta State, among several others”.

The statement added that, “the elders and community leaders have an obligation to expose these wanted persons.

“Nevertheless, troops would continue with their efforts until the culprits are found, arrested, tried and brought to justice by Nigerian law.

“The banner of eight wanted persons involved with the killing including a woman is hereby released. Accordingly, it is necessary to state that citizens are our first line of intelligence and must rise to the occasion in honour of their nation”, the statement read.

Dismissing the rumors of a possible payment of ransom for the recent rescue of 16 and 137 hostages in Sokoto and Kaduna states, the Defence Headquarters insisted that the rescue operations was based on collaboration between the military working with local authorities and government agencies across the country, in a coordinated approach.

“The pressure of military operations created a significant level of distress both for the terrorist and the children. Given the situation, the troops’ line of interest was the children. The level of distress created by the children was sufficient enough for troops to exploit in their rescue,” the statement added.