Reprisal By Military on Delta State Community Is Primitive, Despicable: HURIWA

Reprisal By Military on Delta State Community Is Primitive, Despicable: HURIWA

…Reprisal by Soldier is an act of Terrorism

Civil Rights Advocacy group: Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Gwabin Musa to stop armed soldiers from destroying Okuoma community as a reprisal over the dastardly crime of killing of 16 soldiers and many officers.

“We actually thought that the current Chief of Defence Staff would set the good example of being the one in power when the military as an institution puts to an end the use of reprisal and violent revenge against communities whereby soldiers are killed by hoodlums.”

“Unfortunately, our worst fears have happened with reports of soldiers setting on fire all the buildings at Okuoma the crime scene whereby some officers and men of the Army were killed by gangsters. The reported extralegal killing of three young men of Okuoma community by soldiers on reprisal mission is absolutely intolerable, reprehensible and primitive and is hereby totally deprecated just as we are calling on the President to call the service chiefs to order so they do not continue to kill civilians upon any provocative attacks on soldiers by gunmen. What the rule of law demands is that those who killed those soldiers are to be arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned. But going after the entire community by setting on fire this unlucky community that is also a victim of unwarranted violence, is unconstitutional, illegal and treacherous.”

HURIWA gathered from sources in the media that the gunmen wearing military fatigue arrived in the community around 8am and started shooting at anyone in sight, thus leaving three killed while several victims injured are currently receiving treatment in a hospital in the state.

Besides, HURIWA learnt that troops suspected to be men of the Nigerian Army on Friday, March 15, 2024, while chanting war songs, carried out what could be termed genocide on the innocent citizens of the community by setting their buildings ablaze.”

Another youth from Okuama, who did not want his name in print said, “Our people woke up on Wednesday to see our community surrounded by men in military uniform numbering over 60, and without provocation, they started shooting and caused the death of three promising youths of the community with several others sustaining gunshot injuries.

“The same military men repeated their genocide actions on innocent and law-abiding citizens of the Okuama community on Friday, March 15, 2024, bringing many buildings to rubble. As I speak, the number of persons who died in the barbaric attack cannot be ascertained as many aged men, women and youths fled into the nearby bushes and we suspect that some women and children might have drowned, because many ran into the river out of panic.”

Reacting against the backdrops of the alleged reprisal attacks on Okuoma community by soldiers, HURIWA said it is increasingly becoming the practice especially in Southern Nigeria by the Army that whenever their men are killed, the community in which this unfortunate incident occurs, usually come under unwarranted and vicious violence but it is not the same whenever similar killing of soldiers occur in Northern Nigeria.

HURIWA wants the Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja to explain to Nigerians the rational behind carrying out reprisal attacks by soldiers on Southern communities but the same doesn’t occur if soldiers are killed by terrorists in the North. We wonder why the discriminatory implementation of the unlawful conduct of carrying out reprisals by the military on the basis of regions. Whilst we do not support reprisals by soldiers, we condemn in a very strong manner the unlawful criminal act of burning down Okuoma community by soldiers on reprisal mission in Delta state. Those soldiers who carried out this terrorist attack on this community should be treated also just as those terrorists that shot and killed over one dozen soldiers and senior officers in Okuoma community of Delta State.”

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