• Monday, April 22, 2024
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Deaths and garbled narratives at Okuama

Deaths and garbled narratives at Okuama

Okuama has dominated mainstream and social media since last weekend. Okuama in Delta South is the community where persons of unclear identity killed 17 Nigerian soldiers. What started as a conflict between Okuama and their neighbour, Okoloma, developed into multiple conflicts involving the army and drawing national and international attention.

Troops attached to the 181 Amphibious Battalion, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, reportedly went on a peace mission to the Okuama community. They were killed, and their bodies were dumped in the water. It sounded macabre.

Read also: Okuama killings: Women, children stranded in the forest running for cover

As the nation absorbed the sad news, social media came alive with various other narratives about who, what, and when. Images on social media showed a waterside community on fire.
The stories were contrary to the initial accounts. The Nigerian Army issued a caution and disclaimer. First, the Army said they did not order any reprisal attack. The Army said those narratives were the fruits of propaganda by the local people.

All the key players raised their voices on the Okuama incident. President Bola Tinubu urged the military to find the killers. The Senate held a session and described the killings as “a dastardly act.” They ordered a probe and asked the Senate Committee on Defence, Army, Navy, and Airforce to work with the military. Senate President Godswill Akpabio offered an insight. “We are not at war. I don’t think they are from the Niger Delta. They may be mercenaries.”