President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigerian army to bring the perpetrators of the tragic killing of 16 soldiers during a peacekeeping mission in Nigeria’s southern Delta state to justice.
The soldiers were deployed to control clashes between the Okuama and Okoloba communities, stemming from disputes over land and fishing rights in the oil-rich region. However, they were ambushed by youth from one of the communities.
President Tinubu condemned the attack, labelling it as a direct assault on the nation. He vowed that those responsible would face consequences for their actions. Granting full authority to the defence headquarters and chief of defence staff, Tinubu urged decisive action to ensure justice for the fallen soldiers and the civilian victims.
An ongoing investigation has led to several arrests linked to the incident, including those involved in the killing of a commanding officer, two majors, one captain, and a dozen soldiers.
Furthermore, reports emerged of parts of the affected community being set ablaze by unidentified groups, prompting villagers to flee amid fears of reprisal attacks from the military.
Army spokesperson Brig Gen Tukur Gusau confirmed the retrieval of arms and weapons taken from the slain soldiers as a priority, although he was unaware of the latest incident.
At least 16 soldiers, including four officers, were killed in southern Nigeria while responding to a distress call during fighting between two communities.
The attack led to the death of the commanding officer, two majors, one captain and 12 soldiers, Gusau said, adding that a few arrests had been made related to the attack, which is now being investigated by the military.
Local media reported the conflict in Delta was related to a lingering land dispute between the Okuama and Okoloba communities, which resulted in the abduction of one man. The soldiers had unsuccessfully tried to negotiate his freedom.
Though mostly deployed on special security operations across the West African country, Nigerian soldiers are sometimes sent to resolve conflict in communities, especially areas with an inadequate security presence or where deadly clashes are common.

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