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Nigerian military considers bounty on suspects in Delta State soldier killings

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Amidst the aftermath of the tragic killing of 17 soldiers in Delta State’s Okuama community, the Nigerian military has announced its intention to potentially offer a bounty on suspects linked to the heinous act.

The disclosure was made during a briefing in Abuja where the military intensified efforts to apprehend the eight individuals declared wanted by the Defence Headquarters for their alleged involvement in the killings.

The incident, which occurred on March 14, 2024, saw officers and soldiers of the 181 Amphibious Battalion ambushed and killed during a peacekeeping mission in Okuama. The community has been entangled in a longstanding land dispute with Okoloba since 2023.

General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff, pledged relentless pursuit of justice for the slain soldiers, vowing to hunt down and prosecute those responsible. His resolute stance was echoed during the soldiers’ burial ceremony in Abuja, where families mourned the loss of their loved ones, many of whom were the primary breadwinners.

In a bid to bring the perpetrators to justice, the military has been scouring the creeks and other areas in Okuama, intensifying efforts to locate the wanted suspects. Among them are prominent figures like Prof. Ekpekpo Arthur and Akevwru Daniel Omotegbono, known as Amagbein, a suspected militant leader.

Speaking on behalf of the military, Major General Buba Edward emphasized the unwavering commitment to pursue the suspects, even contemplating offering a bounty for their capture. He stressed the importance of public cooperation, urging individuals to provide any pertinent information to aid in the apprehension process.

However, amidst the unfolding investigation, the newly installed Ovie of Ewu-Urhobo Kingdom, His Majesty Clement Oghenerukevwe Ikolo, Urhukpe 1, has vehemently denied involvement in the killings. In a video interview, the monarch expressed shock at being included in the list of wanted persons, asserting his innocence and highlighting his commitment to peace and humanity.

As the nation grapples with this tragic loss and the pursuit of justice, President Bola Tinubu, alongside dignitaries, pledged support for the victims’ families and reiterated the resolve to ensure justice prevails.

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