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Saturday, May 18, 2024

One Feared killed As Returning Okuama Villagers Catch Suspected Looters

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Fresh hostilities has erupted in Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State a few hours after the Nigerian Army withdrew soldiers from the troubled community.

It was gathered that the displaced Okuama indigenes and farmers who had taken refuge in the creeks and forests, were returning to their devasted ancestral homes only to contend with suspected looters from neighbouring Akugbene community scavenging available properties from the various homesteads.

Angered by the audacity of the suspected looters, the returning vilagers chased and inflicted machete injuries on them, leaving one person feared killed and three injured.

A resident of a neighbouring community, who did not want his name in print for fear of attack, told journalists that: “Those youths went to Okuama to loot upon hearing that soldiers had left the community.

“Armed youths of Okuama villagers accosted and shot at them and some are said to have been cut with machetes.

“Two of those Akugbene youths escaped to our community unhurt and we’ve already sent them back to their community.”

Also speaking on the incident, a former chairman of Akugbene, who would not want his name in print, told newsmen that no fewer than three indigenes of Akugbene suffered machete attack from the returning Okuama indigenes on Wednesday.

He would not, however, tell journalists what led to their attack.

He simply said the Akugbene people, who had been feeling the negative impact of the Army siege on Okuama, “had some respite when they heard of the military pullout from Okuama community.”

He explained that whilst the military siege on Okuama lasted, “it was as if we were in a cage, not moving out to neighbouring communities at the Okuama direction where we go and buy most of our foodstuffs and household materials, particularly at the Okuagbe market.”

Beyond securing food warehouses against looters
He said, “As I’m talking to you, there is a problem; three indigenes of our community have already been ambushed and attacked with machetes by Okuama returnees.

“They were on their way to Ezebiri community along the footpath linking various communities on hearing that the road is free.

“One of them, who escaped back to our community with machete cuts, narrated that they were attacked by the Okuama returnees at gunpoint while on their way to Ezebiri.

“They attacked them with machetes when he managed to escape, while others were led towards the jetty at the community waterfront.

“The victim is in a critical condition with us right here at the primary healthcare centre.”

Also speaking, another source from Akugbene said,“As I’m talking to you, one of the two persons who escaped back from the Okuama assault is already dead.”

The Police Public Relations Officer for Delta State Command, SP Bright Edafe, could not be reached for comments as of the time of filing this report.

It will be recalled that 17 Army officers and soldiers on a peacekeeping mission were gruesomely killed at Okuama on March 14, 2024, which prompted the military to level down.

After weeks of laying siege to the community in search of the killers, the military, on Wednesday, pulled out soldiers from the community.

The Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, who confirmed the development, hailed President Bola Tinubu and the military high command for withdrawing soldiers, saying the Okuama could return to the community to rebuild their homes.

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