Soldiers Killed In An Attack In Delta State

Nmesoma Okwudili


March 24, 2024

An army spokesperson reported that approximately sixteen Nigerian soldiers lost their lives while attempting to quell clashes between two communities in the southern state of Delta. The troops, belonging to the 181 Amphibious Battalion stationed in the Bomadi region, were responding to a conflict in the Okuoma community when the incident occurred on Thursday.

According to Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, some young people from the neighbourhood ambushed and killed the soldiers, who had been sent in to keep the peace. The commanding officer, two majors, one captain, and twelve soldiers were all killed in addition to an attack on the reinforcement team and the commander.

According to Gusau, the chief of defence has also ordered an immediate investigation and the arrest of individuals responsible. Conflicts over land ownership and compensation for oil spills by energy firms are the source of regular conflicts in several communities in Delta state, many of which have lethal outcomes. The region’s peace and stability are seriously threatened by these conflicts, which further heightens tensions.

According to local media reports, the recent conflict in Delta is linked to a longstanding land dispute between the Okuama and Okoloba communities, which escalated to the point of one individual being abducted. Despite efforts by the soldiers to negotiate his release, their attempts were unsuccessful. It’s worth noting that this incident is part of a broader pattern of conflict across Nigeria, particularly in the northern and central regions, where armed groups operate, and there have been allegations of human rights abuses by government forces.

Residents of the coastal village have fled to nearby Ughelli in fear of possible retaliation from the army who have been patrolling the canals after the bloodshed. There are strong suspicions that some angry soldiers may have carried out the abductions and killings that followed as payback for losing their friends. These claims emphasise the situation’s complexity and volatility even further, emphasising the pressing need for efficient dispute resolution procedures and initiatives to address the underlying issues causing the violence.

Meanwhile, efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack continue, with soldiers, led by Major General Jamal Abdussalam, the General Officer Commanding 6th Division of the Nigerian Army, conducting a manhunt. Several arrests have already been made in connection with the incident.

In the early hours of Saturday, soldiers from the combined task force under the command of Major General Abdussalam recovered fourteen deceased soldiers, according to a report by Channels Television. The Okuama community, located in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, saw the recovery. Remarkably, some of the recovered bodies were mutilated, while others had had their hearts and intestines ripped out.

This tragedy exacerbates Nigeria’s longstanding problems with violence, as earlier this year, renewed hostilities in Plateau State claimed the lives of at least thirty people. Muslim herders and Christian farming communities are often involved in these confrontations, reflecting larger tensions in the Middle Belt region of the nation, where racial and religious tensions converge.

The Middle Belt, home to several ethnic minorities including the Mwaghavul, has experienced intercommunal violence on a regular basis, primarily due to land disputes between indigenous farmers and nomadic herders. The effects of climate change and population increase in the area worsen these conflicts even further.

The military is unwavering in its commitment to uphold security and tranquilly throughout the country in spite of these obstacles. Although some arrests have been made, further investigation is needed to determine the true motivations behind the attack.


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