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Okuama: We’ll be professional in our operations, Army assures Niger Deltans

The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and the Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force, South South, Operation Delta State, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, has assured that troops conducting operations over the gruesome murder of officers and soldiers at Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State will be firm, strong, decisive and professional during operations.

General Abdusalam made this known when the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, paid him a condolence visit at the Division’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt Barracks on Thursday.

At least 16 soldiers, including two majors and a captain, on a peace mission were killed in Okuama some days ago by hoodlums.

Major General Abdussalam, while appreciating the MD and his team for the visit, said the order given to troops by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, was to recover the weapons carted away by the perpetrators of the heinous crime and ensure that all those involved are arrested.

He added that the troops would continue to be in the creeks until the objectives were achieved.

The GOC further reiterated that no amount of propaganda, arm-twisting, blackmailing, intimidation, and false narratives would distract troops from staying on course to achieve their objectives.

He, however, assured that the operations would be conducted in the most professional manner in line with the global best practices of adherence to rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

He called on people of the Niger Delta Region to go about their normal activities.

He appealed to people and communities to assist troops regarding the location of the fleeing criminals and the stolen weapons.

He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria “is the symbol of our sovereignty”, stressing that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu captured it succinctly when he said “an attack on our Armed Forces is an attack on our nation.”

“Therefore if we allow criminals to continue to attack our security forces, there will be anarchy,” the GOC said.

Major General Abdussalam further said troops would not rest until all those involved were tracked down

He said the operation was being conducted in such a way that, going forward, nobody would contemplate attacking men in uniform.

The GOC appreciated the MD and his team for identifying with the Nigerian Army at the moment of grief, adding that there would not be development without peace and security.

Earlier, the MD NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, while commiserating with the GOC, said that without peace in the Niger Delta region, there would not be development.

He maintained that the Niger Delta had been peaceful for some time, owing to the sacrifices of officers and men of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

He said the sad event that occurred in Okuama called for concern.

“This informed the reason I led my management team on a condolence visit to the Division. We stand in solidarity with the NA (the Nigerian Army) over this gruesome murder of officers and soldiers,” he said.

Chief Ogbuku said the unfortunate incident did not define the people of the Niger Delta, adding that for years, the people of the region had embraced peace and dialogue.

He further said that no one in the region was in support of the mindless act of criminality.

He called on all critical stakeholders to calm down and support the Nigerian Army to fish out the perpetrators of the criminal acts.

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