I don’t believe Nigerian Army’s claim that Niger Delta youths massacred soldiers: Akpabio

ABUJA- Senate President Godswill Akpabio has expressed doubt about the Nigerian Army’s claim that armed Niger Delta youth killed 16 soldiers in Okuama.

“I don’t think these people are Niger Deltans. We are not at war. Even in period of war to lose such number of war. No community will go to the extent of doing this kind of thing,” the Senate president explained. “I don’t think they are from Niger Delta. I think the first point is to establish the culprit who committed this crime.”  

Mr Akpabio, at Tuesday’s plenary, said people of the region respect security agencies and would not kill soldiers. 

“I don’t want you to conclude. I don’t believe that those people who did the killings are from Niger Delta,” Mr Akpabio said. 

He added, “Because we respect men and women in uniform. That’s why I’m saying your additional prayer should be to carry out a thorough investigation to know whether these people were mercenaries from outside Niger Delta.” 

Mr Akpabio asked the authorities to investigate the killing and unveil the identity of the killers, whom he labelled “mercenaries.” 

President Bola Tinubu ordered the military high command to fish out the killers of the soldiers in Okuama in Ugelli LGA. 

The Ministry of Defence on Monday condemned as unacceptable the killing of 16 officers and men of the 181 Amphibious Battalion at Okuama in Ughelli South LGA by youths of the community.

The army claimed the slain soldiers’ remains were debased and their hearts ripped out. 

“Regrettably, the community complicit in this dastardly act has resorted to media propaganda and shenanigans rather than engage in a positive effort to fish out the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” said the army statement. 

It added, “This, again, is a clear indication that the murder of the troops was a communally orchestrated attack against legitimate forces. There is no amount of propaganda that would arm-twist the narrative; they are complicit and must be ready to face the wrath of the law.”

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