Okuama killings: Troops ‘arrest 3 community leaders’, recover high-grade weapons

Troops of 63 brigade of the Nigerian Army have reportedly arrested three leaders of Olota community, in Ughelli South LGA of Delta, in connection with the death of 17 officers.

The army personnel were killed on March 14 while on a peacekeeping mission to Okuama community.

According to Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency expert and security analyst in the Lake Chad region, the arrests were made on Wednesday.

The three community leaders were apprehended with two speed boats of 75 horsepower outboard engines while purportedly plotting their escape.

Although the arrested community leaders were not named, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had declared eight persons wanted, including Clement Oghenerukevwe, monarch of Ewu-Urhobo kingdom.

Zagazola said the arrest of the three individuals followed painstaking efforts by the military to track down the masterminds and killers of the officers, which made them to look beyond Okuama.

The troops were also said to have recovered assorted weapons and ammunition believed to be stockpiled for communal clashes.

“Zagazola learnt that in the course of the raids, cordon and searches being conducted, the troops recovered assorted high-caliber military-grade weapons in many of the communities where the operation is going on,” the publication said.

“In one of such searches, the troops stormed the residence of one Mr Kenneth in Olota who escaped on sighting the soldiers.

“The team discovered one G3 rifle, 853 rounds of 7.62 MM Nato and 19 rounds of 7.62 Special MM in his house.

“A further search of other locations within the community led to the discovery of 4 G3 fifties and Magazines, one pump action gun and 3 SMGs, Magazines and 476 cartridges.”

Citing an intelligence source, the publication said the troops had acted on a directive to mop up the arms and ammunition and disarm the communities.

After the killing of the army personnel, President Bola Tinubu and the military high command promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.

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