Why We Have Not Allowed Anyone Into Okuoma Community

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The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, has revealed why the Nigerian Army is yet to allow anyone into Okuama community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Naija News recalls that 17 soldiers, including the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain, and 12 personnel of the battalion, were on March 14 killed by militants in Okuama.

Following the killings, residents of Okuama deserted the community over fears of reprisal attacks by the armed forces.

Speaking on Arise TV on Wednesday, General Musa said the Army is conducting a cordon-and-search in the Okuama community, adding that residents will return when they are done.

He said: “When we finish the cordon and search operations (which is searching every nook and cranny within the community) because we know they have a lot of weapons bought from crude oil theft.

“During the disarmament exercise that was conducted, a lot of them didn’t hand over their weapons. And also, due to the closeness to riverine areas with other countries, they’ve found ways to bring in weapons.

“Their access to weapons made them able to perpetrate the crime.

“It’s for us to thoroughly clean the community to ensure no weapons or explosives are left behind, and no one is hiding.

“At the end of it (cordon-and-search), the communities will go back and rebuild. We’re working together with the community; nobody is doing anything to infringe on their rights.

“Also, since it’s an ongoing operation, we wouldn’t want them to come in and be shot or mistaken for antagonists. We’re duty-bound to protect them. As soon as we’re done with the cordon-and-search, they’ll go back.”

The Defence Chief accused the community of harbouring the criminals, adding that some benefit from these acts of criminality.

He said: “If they say they don’t know them or are not aware of them, they’re far from the truth. Investigations will unravel this. The cordon-and-search is temporary and will be over soon.”



Source link: Naija News/

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