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Chief of Defence Staff commends traditional ruler’s surrender to military, urge others to do same

Gen. Christopher Musa Applauds Decision of Delta State Monarch Amid Probe into Killing of 17 Soldiers

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Gen. Christopher Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff, has lauded the decisive action taken by His Royal Majesty Clement Oghenerukevwe Ikolo, Urhukpe 1, the traditional ruler of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom in Delta State, for voluntarily surrendering to authorities following his declaration as wanted in connection with the tragic killing of 17 soldiers in the Okuama community of Ughelli South Local Government Area.

Speaking during an appearance on an Arise TV programme, Gen. Musa urged the remaining seven suspects also declared wanted to follow suit and present themselves to the authorities.

The fatal ambush on March 14, 2024, resulted in the deaths of 17 officers and soldiers from the 181 Amphibious Battalion during a peacekeeping mission in Okuama, where tensions stemming from a longstanding land dispute between Okuama and Okoloba communities have persisted since 2023.

In response to the attack, the military identified eight individuals, including the monarch, as persons of interest. Despite the severity of the allegations, His Royal Majesty Ikolo voluntarily surrendered to authorities, setting a notable example for the others to emulate.

Gen. Musa offered insights into the circumstances surrounding the soldiers’ tragic demise, highlighting their non-aggressive approach as they sought dialogue with the community members. However, the assailants exploited this gesture of goodwill to carry out a brutal assault, leaving the soldiers defenseless.

Contrary to criticisms regarding military involvement in civilian matters, Gen. Musa emphasized that the military was legally authorized to apprehend suspects and conduct investigations, citing the backing of President Bola Tinubu.

He underscored the gravity of the Okuama attack, describing it as a premeditated act orchestrated by criminal elements profiting from illicit activities such as crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

As the investigation progresses, Gen. Musa affirmed the military’s commitment to upholding law and order while ensuring accountability for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes.

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