Okuama: We’ve recovered decomposing hearts of slain soldiers – Army

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Troops conducting a manhunt for the killers of 17 officers and soldiers in the creeks of the Niger Delta have recovered the decomposing hearts of some of the killed soldiers during the search.

Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, made the disclosure in a statement made available to journalists on Friday.

Recall that last Thursday, 17 officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army who were purportedly on a peace mission at Okuama over the land dispute between the community and Okoloba were gruesomely murdered by gunmen whose identities are still under wraps.

Major General Buba, while highlighting updates on the operations of the troops against insurgency and terrorism, said that while the manhunt continued in over nine communities in Delta and Bayelsa for the killers, no significant arrests had been made so far.

Following a viral video of a young man claiming to be one of the killers of military personnel, Major General Buba urged the Delta State government and concerned communities to assist the troops in flushing them out.

“Troops have continued a manhunt for the perpetrators of the barbaric killing of 18 soldiers that occurred on March 14.

“Accordingly, clearance operations as well as cordon and search were conducted to, among other things, recover the weapons of the deceased soldiers.

“Some of the communities in which troops have operated include Akugbene, Ukuama, and Okoloba communities in Ugheli and Ugheli South of Delta State. Others are the Ukuama Amusamo, Akwagbe, Arhavwarien, Pirigbene, and Igbomatoro communities, all in Delta State.

“The decomposing hearts of some of the killed soldiers were recovered during the search, while the manhunt container had no significant arrests yet.

“Significantly, there is a viral video of a person admitting to having perpetrated the killings of the soldier in Delta State. The video, among other things, helps to narrow investigations to persons of interest and their cohorts.

“Accordingly, the state governments and host communities of these personalities are required to assist instigation in flushing them out.

“There can be no hiding place for perpetrators of such dastardly acts against our nation.

“This is a clarion call to duty by members of those communities and the state governments,” Major General Buba noted.

Meanwhile, he itemised other feats of troops in the Niger Delta region to include the busting of illegal oil refineries, the interception of crude oil theft, the recovery of assorted weapons, the arrest of criminal suspects, and the rescue of kidnapping victims, among others.

“Across theatres of operation in the country,. During the week, troops neutralised 106 terrorists and made 103 arrests. Troops also arrested 22 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 96 kidnapped hostages.

“In the SS, troops denied the oil theft of the estimated sum of Seven Hundred and Fifty-Four Million One Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand and Six Hundred Naira (N754,149,600.00) only.

“Furthermore, troops recovered 171 assorted weapons and 2,452 assorted ammunition. The breakdown is as follows: 47 AK47 rifles, one PKT gun, 18 pump action rifles, 17 locally fabricated guns, 14 Dane guns, 12 locally fabricated pistols, one fabricated revolver, one hand grenade, 81mm mortar bomb, one mortar tube and 4 bandoliers

“Others are 995 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 468 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 317 live cartridges, 125 rounds of 9mm ammo, 313 rounds of 7.62 x 54mm ammo, 13 rounds of 7.62 x 51mm, 19 rounds of 7.62 x 39mm, 167 empty shells of 7.62mm special ammo, 45 empty shells of 7.62mm NATO, 72 empty cases of cartridges, 14 magazines, 10 vehicles, 23 motorcycles, 19 mobile phones, one bicycle, 4 baofeng radios, and the sum of N112,920.00 amongst other items.

“Troops in the Niger Delta area discovered and destroyed 51 dugout pits, 17 boats, 15 storage tanks and 4 vehicles. Other items recovered include 21 cooking ovens, 3 pumping machines and 40 illegal refining sites. Troops recovered 772,350 litres of stolen crude oil, 80,530 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,500 litres of DPK,” he disclosed.

As of the time of filing the report, the state of folks at Okuama, the theatre of the killings and troop invasion, is unknown, as journalists are barred from accessing the area

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